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Separate Police Shootings Kill 1, Injure 1

Officers in both of the cases say they fired in self-defense. The LAPD is investigating the weekend incidents.

October 15, 2002|Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writers

Separate shootings by Los Angeles police officers who said they fired in self-defense, leaving one man dead and another wounded, were under investigation, authorities said Monday.

One man who had stabbed a woman in a domestic dispute was fatally shot Sunday, and a man who led police on a high-speed chase was wounded Saturday, police said.

Officer Brian Dameworth, 31, responded with his partner to a report of a domestic disturbance Sunday morning at a Hollywood apartment in the 1700 block of Garfield Place. A woman who had been stabbed in the neck said her attacker was inside her apartment.

As Dameworth and his partner approached the apartment, Albert Davila screamed words suggesting he was going to kill himself, police said. The officers kicked in the door, saw Davila with a knife and ordered him to drop it.

With a beer bottle in one hand and a knife in the other, Davila advanced toward Dameworth, police said.

"Officer Dameworth backed up and repeatedly pleaded with the suspect to put down the knife and return to the apartment," said Lt. Horace Frank.

Dameworth, an officer for 18 months, told investigators that his back was against a wall when Davila "continued to advance in a threatening manner." Dameworth shot Davila, who was declared dead at the scene.

In the second incident, officers Ernest Berry and Alfred Gonzalez shot Ever Castillo, 22, Saturday when he threatened police after a high-speed chase from southeast Los Angeles to Hacienda Heights, police said. Castillo remained hospitalized Monday in serious condition. Berry, 36, a six-year veteran, had previously been given a 15-day suspension for shooting at an officer he said he had mistaken for a suspect.

Castillo, whom police sought on suspicion of reckless driving, was chased from the Nickerson Gardens housing project to the 15800 block of Novak Street in Hacienda Heights, police said.

There he was stopped. Officers fired a beanbag through the car window after Castillo refused to obey orders to get out, police said. When Castillo left the car, he brandished a glass candelabrum, and officers Fiji Yamamoto, 33, and Scott Burkett, 33, fired more beanbag rounds.

Officers told investigators that Castillo continued to scream and then charged Gonzalez, 32. Gonzalez and Berry fired at Castillo with bullets.

Both shootings were being investigated by the LAPD and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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