Deputy Involved Shooting in Unincorporated El Monte

A Temple Station deputy was involved in a shooting last night of a suspect with a pellet gun.  The LA Times has a little story about the incident and the Department’s press release is linked here.

It appears the deputy saw a suspicious person and went to stop him. At some point he saw what appeared to be a handgun in the suspect’s waistband and that the suspect drew the apparent handgun and pointed it at the deputy, at which point a shooting occurred.

LASD.News found the radio traffic on a public website and it’s linked here. It starts about 7 minutes in.

In the recording you can clearly hear the deputy saying he has a suspect detained with a “417” (firearm). You can hear the deputies giving commands. A shooting occurs, they request additional units and an ambulance. You can also hear that the Sheriff’s Department’s radio system is a relic of the Cold War. (No, literally.)

We don’t know anything further and have nothing of value to add–except, mostly for the benefit of those outside the department or who have not done police work, that it’s actually very common for hardened criminals to carry pellet guns on the street and in vehicles.

The reason people carry pellet guns is because a fake gun is often enough to commit robberies or scare people, but it’s not illegal if you get caught with it.

So if you’re a felon and your intent is to intimidate or steal from people but not necessarily to hurt them, carrying a fake gun rather than a real gun is a far safer approach than carrying a real gun and risk getting caught with it.

That does not explain why in this case someone would knowingly point a pellet gun at someone with a real gun. Perhaps he didn’t know the deputy was a deputy. Perhaps he was high on meth. Perhaps it was suicide by cop.  We don’t know and the investigation will hopefully tell.

But it’s important for people to understand that adults walking down the street with pellet guns, or driving with them in cars, are often up to serious no-good. They aren’t “toys”–they’re “imitation firearms”. And there is no way to tell they’re fake until you actually hold and manipulate it. Which is way too late.


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