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Officer Pleads Not Guilty in Gunfire

Police say the 13-year veteran shot into an Inglewood house while two people were in it.

November 02, 2005|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

A veteran Los Angeles police officer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges that she fired shots into an Inglewood house with a woman and a man inside.

Officer Keely Caroline Coleman faces two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling in the Aug. 30 incident. The 41-year-old officer remains free in lieu of $250,000 bail.

If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of more than 23 years in prison, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Coleman, a 13-year officer assigned to the juvenile division, knew Shannon Amos, who owned the house in the 500 block of East Ellis Avenue, according to Inglewood Police Capt. Hampton Cantrell. Investigators thought it was a drive-by shooting, until they learned that Coleman had been at the home earlier that evening.

Police said Coleman fired into the front window of the home at least three times, frightening Amos and her companion, Ronald Gaines, into dropping to the floor. Amos was slightly injured by splintered plaster; Gaines escaped harm.

Coleman was off duty at the time of the incident.

The officer surrendered to Inglewood police the next day. The LAPD ordered her to stay home during work hours.

Coleman is a onetime drug abuse resistance education officer for the LAPD and worked for several years at Dorsey High School. Her record includes several commendations, the latest in June from Police Chief William J. Bratton.

The LAPD's Professional Standards Bureau is conducting an internal investigation and has interviewed several witnesses.

Coleman is due back in court Dec. 13 for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial.

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