LAPD Officer Who Shot Unarmed Man In Los Feliz Is Identified
LAPD released the name of the officer who shot an unarmed man in Los Feliz in the head last week and then handcuffed the bloodied man as he lay there motionless on the ground.
Authorities identified the officer who shot 48-year-old Walter William DeLeon as Cairo Palacios, according to the L.A. Times. The shooting took place last Friday around 6:30 p.m. on Los Feliz Boulevard and Tica Drive. DeLeon flagged down a patrol car that was stuck in traffic at the time, according to LAPD officials. They said DeLeon extended his arms towards officers with his hands covered by a cloth. Authorities said an officer who thought DeLeon was armed yelled out to him to drop the gun, and said DeLeon walked "aggressively" towards them. Palacios shot DeLeon, who dropped to the ground. However, no gun was found.
The shocking incident was caught on video and shared on social media, showing DeLeon's head bleeding and that he was not resisting arrest as the officer turned him over and handcuffed him.
DeLeon remains in the hospital in critical condition.
It's still not clear why DeLeon flagged police, and he didn't have an injury to his hand. Earlier this week, KPCC reported that LAPD Commander Andrew Smith said they haven't been able to talk to DeLeon because of of his injuries. DeLeon's 18-year-old son told the Times that he was surprised by the shooting and that his father often carried around a towel to wipe his sweat.
Attorney Kevin Boyle, who is representing DeLeon's children, told the Times: "From everything I have seen, this is a wonderful family and I would be absolutely shocked to learn that he was approaching police in some sort of an aggressive way. Maybe he was feeling ill. He may have been reporting a crime. It's just unknown at this time."
Gary Fullerton, an attorney representing Palacios, told the Times his client's point of view. "The officer, when he went up to handcuff the man, was shocked to find just the cloth there and nothing under the cloth," Fullerton said. "It's unfortunate, but you can't expect officers to be clairvoyant and wait until they get shot at to actually know what this person is doing or thinking."
Smith said earlier this week that it was standard procedure to handcuff someone who is considered a suspect and hasn't been searched. "We always do that," he told the Times. "That's the policy...to handcuff someone in a situation like that."
In 2006, Palacios began working with the city's General Services Department, which patrols city properties like parks and libraries, and then joined LAPD in 2013 when the departments merged together.