LAPD Officer Cleared in Fatal Shooting

Matt Reynolds

LOS ANGELES (CN) — The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday decided unanimously that an LAPD officer was justified in shooting to death a young Latino man after an altercation at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center last year.

Alejandro Downey shot Ruben Herrera, 26, on Dec. 19, 2015 at the hospital on the 1000 block of West Carson Street in Torrance.

Officers Christopher Eick and Justin Kravetz had responded that morning to a report of a man throwing bottles at an apartment building.

Herrera was taken to the hospital after officers used a stun gun and a pressure hold on both sides of Herrera’s neck. The officers used force after Herrera punched one of them in the face, and tried to grab an officer’s gun, the LAPS said in a statement at the time.

The officers also were taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

In the afternoon, after medical staff at the hospital cleared Herrera to leave the hospital for booking, Officers Downey and Joseph Adragna unlocked his handcuff from a hospital bed. Herrera grabbed a metal stool and swung it at the officers and hit Downey, police said, and during the ensuing fight tried to take Adragna and Downey’s handguns.

After a stun gun failed to subdue Herrera and he tried to grab Downey’s gun, he shot Herrera at close range, Police Chief Charlie Beck told the police commission in writing. Emergency medical staff could not save Herrera’s life and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Herrera’s mother, Graciela Herrera, told NBC Los Angeles that officers “overreacted” after arriving at the 1600 block of West 207th Street. She said her son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but was not taking medication and did not need it.

The police commission voted 4-0 to adopt Chief Beck’s recommendation that the use of lethal force was within policy.

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