Man With Knife Killed by Police in Hollywood Tourist Area


LOS ANGELES — A man holding a pocketknife was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers in a chaotic confrontation Friday night in the crowded heart of Hollywood’s tourist district, the authorities said.

Officers fired on the man in the middle of the intersection of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard — a few hundred feet from the theater where the Academy Awards take place — after he refused to put down his weapon, the police said. The man, who was not identified, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead early Friday evening.

“The man was armed with a knife,” said Meghan Aguilar, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. “When he saw the officers, he approached them, and an officer-involved shooting occurred.”

The police were conducting an internal investigation before releasing more details, Officer Sally Madera said.

The shooting took place in a week of heightened scrutiny of the police across the country after the decisions of grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island not to indict officers involved in fatal encounters with racial dimensions. Those decisions prompted demonstrations across the country, including in parts of Los Angeles.

The races of the officers and the man who was shot on Friday were not immediately disclosed.

Earlier in the week, the Los Angeles police chief, Charlie Beck, found that three Los Angeles Police Department officers involved in a fatal shooting last year had acted improperly. He concluded that the “preponderance of evidence” did not support the officers’ claim that “a deadly threat” had been present. In that case, the victim, Brian Beaird, was moving away from the officers when he was hit 15 times by bullets last December.

The findings in that case led officials here to argue here that safeguards put in place to protect against police abuses had helped to instill public trust in the authorities.

“I will tell you that the system that we have here — civilian oversight with authority and an independent inspector general — has an inordinate number of checks and balances,” Steve Soboroff, the president of the Board of Police Commissioners, said earlier in the week, before this latest shooting. “I’m not saying there will never be mistakes. But I hope not.”

Witnesses said that they had watched the man brandish a knife at tourists and police officers, and that it appeared that two officers had fired.

“I can say that when they told him to get down and comply, that he did not at all,” one witness, Henry Hodge, told Channel 2 News. “He had his hands inside his pocket when they ran up to him.”

The part of Los Angeles where the man was killed was once troubled by crime but has since been the object of a Times Square-like cleanup, as Hollywood has sought to encourage more tourists to visit.

The effort has not been entirely successful: Last year, two high-profile crimes took place there, including one stabbing.

This latest confrontation occurred at one of the busiest times on the boulevard — Friday night, when the area was teeming with tourists looking down at the names of Hollywood stars engraved in the Walk of Fame.