Vishal P. Singh
LAPD labels butane lighter as ‘replica gun’ after fatal shooting by police in Hollywood
HOLLYWOOD— The Los Angeles Police Department fatally shot a man in front of McDonald’s today, near the busy Hollywood and Highland intersection in Hollywood. The incident occurred at around 11:20 A.M. according to LAPD spokesperson Detective Aguilar. Officers were responding to reports of a man who was supposedly waving a gun around. Officers encountered the person in front of the McDonald’s. That is when the man was shot and killed by police. The victim was described as a white male in his 40s or 50s. Initially, LAPD and media reported that the object recovered from the victim was a “replica handgun.”
However, at 7:02 P.M. LAPD posted a photo of the item in question (as well as a photo of a knife and two screenshots from footage of the incident), and the photo reveals the item to be a butane lighter, not a replica handgun of any kind. The raw footage of this incident from either body worn cameras or surveillance cameras have not been released yet. Detective Aguilar was quoted as saying that the lighter "appears to be exactly like a gun" but also admitted that she had not actually seen the item personally. Even so, she promoted this false "replica handgun" narrative.
Witnesses say they were terrified and feared for their lives. A witness claimed no verbal warnings were heard from police (LAPD said they weren’t sure if a verbal warning was given prior to the shooting).
The witness said she was concerned that bystanders, including herself, could have been easily shot by mistake. Indeed, one woman was also transported to the hospital for an injury received from the incident.
When asked if the wound was related to the gunfire from LAPD, Detective Aguilar said that they had not ruled this possibility out. Some outlets have reported that the woman was grazed by LAPD’s gunfire.
One nine millimeter round was photographed by a witness inside of the Mcdonald's. It's not known exactly how many shots were fired.
The witness accurately contested LAPD's claims about a handgun before official statements had even been made. Meanwhile, LAPD's story about the alleged weapon has changed multiple times. This is significant because the allegation about the man being armed is the excuse used to justify the use of firearms by law enforcement.
It’s very irresponsible for LAPD to put out a narrative about a “replica handgun” when the recovered item was clearly a butane lighter. This fatal shooting mirrors the LAST fatal shooting by law enforcement in Los Angeles County. Three weeks ago in Norwalk, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies fatally shot Frederick Holder. They also allegedly mistook a butane lighter for a gun. This cannot become a new trend. A butane lighter is not an excuse to kill. And neither is a knife.