I’ve heard it said before that one of the most dangerous things police officers do on a daily basis is pulling people over. While most interactions are fine, pulling someone over has a nasty habit of turning ugly on the officers.
In my time watching officer-involved shootings, most of them seem to take place when the police have pulled someone over, so I have no trouble believing that traffic stops are the most dangerous things cops do.
Today, we have a video of an LAPD officer who was shot during a stop. Luckily for her, her partner shot the suspect before he could do worse.
Recordings from inside a police cruiser and the officers’ body cameras captured what seems to begin as a routine traffic stop that suddenly explodes into violence as the gunman pulls a .380-caliber handgun from his side and shoots the female officer who is standing just inches away.
Police identified the shooter as Richard Mendoza, 32, a gang member who was on probation. He was struck multiple times in the torso and head, and later died of his injuries at a hospital, according to the video.
LAPD Capt. Patricia Sandoval identified the male officer in the video as Miguel Alarcon of the Mission Division but would not identify the female officer because she has “confidentiality protection as a victim of a violent crime.”
In an interview Monday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore commented on how narrowly both officers escaped greater harm.
“By the grace of God she is alive,” Moore said. “Officers are fearful in these situations and the public here gets to see why.
“Once a person has you in that position it is very tough,” he said. “You cannot stop that first one or two shots.”
The chief said the female officer, who worked the gang unit, knew Mendoza on sight and was aware of his history.
Mendoza, who went by the name of “Biz,” was known by the LAPD as a member of the Vincent Town street gang. He has prior convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon and narcotics for sales, according to the LAPD and court records.
I’m sure people will claim that Mendoza was really a good guy and didn’t do anything wrong. Who cares that video proves he tried to kill two police officers? Right?
In the below video, there’s the dash camera from the police car, as well as body cams from both officers. They all show that Mendoza got out of the car with gun in hand and tried to kill the officers.
Luckily, this ended about as well as we could have hoped.
While the female officer was wounded, it doesn’t appear that the wounds were life-threatening. Hopefully, she’ll make a full recovery and be back to work soon. Her partner was able to act quickly to end the threat, a threat that likely wouldn’t have been satisfied with simply leaving the officer wounded.
The streets of Los Angeles are a bit safer now.
Hat tip: The Truth About Guns
The incident starts around the 2:20 mark.