Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Neighbors Learn Details of Sycamore Square Shooting


sycamore square shooting
Captain Howard Leslie and Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala address questions at community meeting Tuesday evening at the Wilshire Ebell.

Approximately 75 people attended the LAPD Wilshire Area community meeting at the Wilshire Ebell last night where officers from Wilshire Division explained the events surrounding the fatal Sycamore Square shooting of a suspect last week.

According to Captain Howard Leslie, the Wilshire Division officers responded to multiple calls from the community of a 415 (disturbing the peace) — a man with a skateboard breaking windows. The officers saw a man that fit the description, then saw a broken window on La Brea at Wilshire and called for backup assistance.

At some point, according to Captain Leslie, the officers decided to get out of their patrol car and confront the individual. A violent confrontation ensued during which the suspect gained control of one officer’s taser and began using it against the officer who was on the ground. The other officer, fired one round. The suspect later died. The incident took place on Sycamore between 8th and 9th streets. Both officers were injured in the altercation. They were treated and released the same day.

Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala, a 30-year veteran of the department who is the Commanding Officer of Operations-West Bureau, explained there are currently three investigations into the matter being conducted by the Department, the City Attorney’s office and the Police Commission. The results of the investigations are likely to available in 3-5 months, though she said she was meeting with the Police Chief Beck tomorrow to review the preliminary findings from investigation at the scene.

Following their presentations, the officers took questions from the audience with Francesco Ortega, Human Relations Commission moderating the meeting. Questions raised by neighborhood leaders and residents regarding the identify of the suspect were not answered because the man’s family had not yet been notified of this death though it is expected that his name would be released in the next day or so.

A number of people who spoke expressed concerns about the rise in crime in the Wilshire area. Captain Leslie confirmed that incidents were on the rise, though not just in the Wilshire area, but all over the city.  To address the situation, Leslie said he was putting more police officers on “foot beat.”

“Where we have officers walking the street, visible, talking to business owners, even homeless people, we have seen a drop in crime,” said Captain Leslie. “We are expanding our efforts to increase presence of cops on the street.”

Several questions focused on the use of force that resulted in the death of the suspect. Captain Leslie and Deputy Chief Girmala took turns explaining how officers are trained and how these situations are very complex.  Girmala urged people not to lump all the incidents where suspects have been killed and conclude there’s a problem with LAPD.

“There are dozens of altercations where officers are assaulted with a peaceful outcome,” said Girmala. “This is the case the majority of the time.”

However, she explained, sometimes officers need to use other means and she demonstrated the various options available to officers by showing the audience the equipment she was carrying on her belt. A few minutes later she invited another officer up to demonstrate how the taser works.

Captain Leslie invited everyone to attend the next Wilshire Division open house where they could experience the simulated training officers undergo and see how they would react in a threatening situation.


Approximately 75 people attended the Wilshire Community meeting conducted by LAPD on Tuesday evening
Approximately 75 people attended the Wilshire Community meeting conducted by LAPD on Tuesday evening
sycamore square shooting
Officer demonstrates the use of a taser to audience at LAPD Wilshire Division community meeting at Wilshire Ebell



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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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