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Inglewood police release transcripts

Officers maintain they went to site identified in 911 call, where a man was fatally shot.

July 25, 2008|Andrew Blankstein and Joanna Lin | Times Staff Writers

Disputing claims from the victim's family that officers went to the wrong address, Inglewood police on Thursday released the radio transcripts of a family disturbance call that resulted in a fatal officer-involved shooting.

The caller who alerted police early Monday, according to the transcripts, identified the source of the disturbance several times as Apartment 10 in the 100 block of North Hillcrest Boulevard, where Officer Brian Ragan fatally shot Kevin Wicks, 38.

"Our position is that the officers were dispatched to the apartment that was given to us by the caller," said Sgt. Gabriela Garcia.

Ragan, who is one of two officers under investigation for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in May, was one of four officers who arrived at Wicks' apartment, police said. When they knocked on the door, Wicks opened it holding a gun, police said.

"Wicks then suddenly raised the handgun at the officers, which resulted in one officer firing his service weapon in self-defense," police said in a prepared statement.

Wicks, who had been alone in the apartment, was taken to a hospital, where he died, police said. At the scene, officers recovered a handgun registered to Wicks, police said.

Wicks' family has maintained that officers went to the wrong apartment. The postal worker's family also questioned why Ragan, who returned to work last month, was allowed back on the job so quickly.

Ragan and Officer Roman Fernandez had been placed on administrative leave after the fatal May 11 shooting of Michael Byoune, 19. In that case, the officers had believed they were under fire when they shot at the vehicle in which Byoune was riding, but Byoune and two others in the car were unarmed.

The victims' families have filed a $25-million lawsuit against the city.

Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, who was hired last year to help reform a troubled department, has come under harsh criticism for her handling of the May shooting. Seabrooks was in a closed-door meeting with city administrators late Thursday evening and unavailable for comment.

In the radio transcripts, a police dispatcher tells officers that the caller can hear a black "male and female arguing. The male arrived in a black vehicle. He's wearing a white shirt and black shorts . . . He's in black flip flops."

Garcia said Thursday that police could not confirm if Wick's clothing matched the description given by the caller.

Meanwhile, Wicks' family plans to hold a news conference at 10 a.m. today to discuss the case and possible legal action.

"The new information they have on the shooting is potentially a bombshell in the case," said Eddie Jones, president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Assn. who will also attend.

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andrew.blankstein@ latimes.com

joanna.lin@latimes.com

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