A man was found dead inside his SUV in the parking lot of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s station Monday following a shootout with deputies who attempted to take him into custody on a felony warrant for a sex crime, according to officials.
Capt. Steven Katz, who heads the sheriff’s homicide bureau, told the Los Angeles Times that the man suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a gun battle in the parking lot of the Temple City (Calif.) Sheriff’s Station, but authorities could not say whether the man actually died from the self-inflicted wound or whether his death was due to deputy gunfire.
The unnamed 47-year-old man entered the station around 7:25 a.m. to register as a sex offender, and when a deputy at the station discovered that he had a felony warrant for a sex crime, he requested assistance to take the man into custody, sheriff’s officials said.
When deputies approached the man, he ran out of the station, got into the back seat of his SUV and armed himself with a shotgun, at which point he began firing at deputies and the station building, which led to the gun battle with deputies, Katz said. No deputies were injured in the shootout.
Members of the special weapons team looked inside the SUV shortly after 8 a.m., and Katz said that both a shotgun and a handgun were found inside the vehicle.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear, and Katz told the Times that shootings don’t usually happen at sheriff’s stations.
“It’s a rarity,” Katz said. “I think it highlights the danger that our deputies see every day ... even at our house.”
Sheriff Jim McConnell told the Times that law-enforcement agencies are seeing an increase in assaults against officers.
“We see these all too frequently now,” McConnell said.
McConnell’s hyperbolic statement is of course refuted by actual data from the FBI, which indicates that not only are police not being killed more frequently, but the numbers of deaths are actually dropping.
As University of Southern California law professor and former Police Officer Seth Stoughton told the BBC in July 2016: “There’s a widespread perception in the American public, and particularly within law enforcement, that officers are more threatened, more endangered, more often assaulted, and more often killed than they have been historically. I think it’s a very strong perception. People truly believe it. But factually, looking at the numbers, it’s not accurate.”
I am not at all discrediting the idea that there has been some violence against police officers, but the numbers will never match those of the shootings and attacks that police officers have made against American citizens.
However, I’m sure we can count on this incident to be used as an example of why more Blue Lives Matter legislation is needed as police continue to abuse their power and use of force on a daily basis.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.