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Police shoot robbery suspect

One of two men in Los Feliz allegedly hits an officer with a knife.

August 28, 2008|Andrew Blankstein and Molly Hennessy-Fiske | Times Staff Writers

Los Angeles police officers shot and wounded a robbery suspect in Los Feliz on Wednesday and are still searching for a second man, authorities said.

Officers patrolling near Sunset Boulevard and North Vermont Avenue heard a radio call shortly before 1 p.m. that a nearby LG Electronics store at 4557 Santa Monica Blvd. had just been robbed and two men had fled, one wearing a beige plaid shirt, the other a blue shirt, said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The officers spotted two men who fit the suspects' description soon after, running south on Vermont, Diaz said. The officers got out of their car, chased the men for a short distance and confronted them.

One of the men was armed with a knife and used the butt of it to hit one of the officers twice on the forehead. A knife, believed to be the one used to hit the officer, was later recovered at the scene.

One of the officers responded by firing several rounds, hitting one of the men at least once, said Officer Jason Lee. The man was taken to a hospital where he was reported in stable condition late Wednesday.

The officer struck with the knife butt suffered minor injuries and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

During the shooting, one round struck the window of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, where an 80-year-old male passenger suffered minor injuries from broken glass but refused treatment, and a female rider suffered an anxiety attack and was taken to a hospital, Diaz said.

Police were still pursuing the second man, Lee said. That suspect was described as Latino, age 20 to 35, 150 pounds, 5 feet 5 to 5 feet 7, and believed to be wearing bluejeans and a beige shirt.

It was unclear whether the fugitive was armed, he said.

Workers at a nearby Travelodge on Vermont said they heard shooting and rushed outside.

"We just heard four shots and apparently it all occurred right in front," said Andy Mehta, the hotel's assistant manager. Mehta said he saw people running but did not see police shoot.

In the two years he has worked at the hotel, Mehta said, he has heard of several shootings in the area but "not in wide-open daylight like this."

"Nothing like this ever happened here," said Daniel Garcia, 35, manager of Eat N Joy on Vermont, where he has worked for four years. Garcia said dozens of police officers were at the scene.

"They responded quickly," he said. "They were here -- helicopters, everything -- and they closed it down immediately. But I was surprised to hear the four shots because this area is heavily trafficked."

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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