The Gunfight That Led To Massive Mid-City Manhunt May Have Never Happened
You probably remember last June when Mid-City was shut down for a massive manhunt while LAPD investigated a strange "brazen" attack on two detectives. Now a report from LAPD Inspector General Alex Bustamante says the attack may have never happened.
The incident began when LAPD Det. Humberto Tovar and his partner, Officer Bernard Romero, say they were approached by a man who walked up to their stopped car and opened fire, shattering their back window. Investigators now say they were only able to find bullets and shell casings from the two officers, L.A. Times reports. And from the surveillance video provided by a nearby business, investigators can't tell if what the suspect was holding was a gun. If the man never had a weapon or shot at them, it contradicts the officers' report of how the back window broke, as well as their statements about subsequently exchanging gunfire with him.
Additionally, Tovar's less than exemplary past reveals a connection to Rampart Scandal star Rafael Perez, who once accused Tovar of planting drugs on a suspect. This led to Tovar being fired in 2000, though he was later reinstated by a judge.
The original manhunt story went this like: Around 4:30 a.m. on June 25, Tovar and Romero were waiting for a security gate to open when returning to the department's Wilshire Division Station on Venice Blvd. when a man walked up to their car and fired a gun at their car, shattering the rear window. Tovar said he got out of the car and exchanged gunfire, firing 23 times. Romero fired four times into the roof of the car, unintentionally, and then over his shoulder at the suspect.
Security cameras at a nearby business were unable to clearly show what happened near the car, but did show the man stop in the median of the street and "raise his arm in their direction" according the incident report.
The man escaped the ensuing gunfight and the officers sustained only minor injuries, which may have been from car debris.
The manhunt—which called upon over 200 police officers, a SWAT team, air units and K-9 units—involved 25 square blocks in Mid-City. Four people were detained for questioning, but ultimately released. The manhunt ended without any arrests being made.
At this time, neither officer has made a comment regarding Bustamante's report.
Tovar used to be partnered with aforementioned corrupt cop Rafael Perez, an officer who has his own Wikipedia page about what a bad guy he was. Perez was key to the Rampart Scandal of the late ‘90s. He was arrested in 1998 for stealing six pounds of cocaine, but he was also involved in the coverup of a $722,000 bank heist and may have murdered The Notorious B.I.G.. He spilled his guts when he was arrested for the cocaine theft, implicating 70 other Rampart Division officers and causing 106 arrests to be overturned.