Inglewood police shot and killed a man who allegedly brandished a weapon early Sunday while officers were attempting to break up a birthday party, authorities said.
The shooting was the latest deadly incident involving Inglewood’s Police Department, which is under investigation by two outside agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, over its use of deadly force.
Police said officers responded to reports of a fight shortly after 12:45 a.m. in the 800 block of South Osage Avenue. Officers opened fire on Marcus Smith, 31, of Compton after he pointed a semiautomatic handgun at them, Lt. Mike McBride said.
“He had it in his hand. He drew it and pointed it in the direction of the officers,” McBride said. “So I would say that’s threatening the officers.”
One officer was shot in the right leg in the incident. He was taken to a hospital, treated and released, McBride said. Police suspect the officer was shot by Smith, but they need to conduct more tests on his gun to be sure, he said.
A woman who identified herself as Smith’s fiancee said she did not see him brandish a weapon. Kalonna LaCount said she and Smith were leaving the party together after police called on guests to disperse.
LaCount said she and Smith were walking down a stairway when Smith slipped. LaCount said she then saw Smith’s body jerk as police fired their weapons.
“He had his hands in the air,” she said. “The more he stumbled, the more they shot.”
LaCount said she was not certain whether Smith was armed or even owned a gun. LaCount, wearing a green dress stained with Smith’s blood, sat on the steps of the apartment building Sunday and wept as she recounted the moments before his death. LaCount said she and Smith had been together for 18 years and have three daughters, all under the age of 12.
Turning to her brother, Taqwa LaCount, she said: “He’s dead. Can you believe it? What am I going to do?”