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Police kill man in Playa Vista

Officers say Reginald Doucet Jr. was naked when he attacked officers near his condo.

January 15, 2011|By Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith, left, and Officer Tiffany Wright escort a distraught woman who said she knew Reginald Doucet Jr., who was killed by police.
Los Angeles police Cmdr. Andrew Smith, left, and Officer Tiffany Wright… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

A former college football player who was naked and yelling in a Playa Vista street after arguing with a cab driver was shot to death early Friday by a Los Angeles police officer he allegedly attacked, officials said.

The shooting occurred about 3:30 a.m. when two patrol officers responded to a disturbance call in the 5200 block of Crescent Park West and found the man "yelling and behaving erratically," according to an LAPD statement.

The man was later identified by the county coroner and his ex-sports agent as Reginald Doucet Jr., 25, a former defensive back at El Camino College and Middle Tennessee State University. The shooting occurred just outside Doucet's condominium building, said his neighbor and former agent, Chris Ellison.

Police said the officers attempted to calm the agitated man and talked him into putting on his boxer shorts, but he ran when they tried to apprehend him. They approached him again, but he ran once more.

"When the officers tried a third time to detain the suspect in the apartment complex doorway, the suspect immediately attacked both officers," the statement said. "The suspect repeatedly punched both officers in the face and head and at one point tried to take one of the officer's guns."

That's when one of the officers, identified only as a male with 17 months in the department, shot Doucet twice, police said. He died at a hospital.

The other officer has five years with the LAPD and was "battered and dazed," police said. One of the men was treated at a hospital for face and ankle injuries and the other for injuries to his jaw and head.

According to his Middle Tennessee State biography, Doucet was 6 feet tall and weighed 190 pounds when he played there. Raised in Prunedale, Calif., he was a track and football star at North Monterey County High school, where he also played basketball, his biography says.

Doucet played junior college football at El Camino College near Torrance before winning a scholarship to Middle Tennessee State, said Ellison, who tried without success to help Doucet land in the National Football League.

Doucet had played in lesser leagues in Florida and Tennessee, Ellison said, and more recently worked as a personal fitness trainer and part-time model. Doucet was single but has a daughter who is 3 or 4 years old, Ellison said.

Ellison, who did not witness Friday's shooting or the events that preceded it, said he could make no sense of any of it, including Doucet's alleged erratic behavior.

"Maybe he was belligerent, I don't know, but I have never seen him drunk. Never. Violent? Never," he said. "He was an outstanding young man who was trying to make a better life."

Ellison also questioned the need to shoot Doucet.

"What bothers me is that if he was naked, they knew for a fact that he didn't have any weapons on him. Were the police really getting whooped that bad that they needed to shoot him — twice? They can't pull out a billy club? They can't Tase him? They have to shoot him? The more I think about it, the more it bothers me."

kim.christensen@latimes.com

Times staff writer Stephen Ceasar contributed to this report.

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