Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Watts, CA: Officer, 19 month old baby injured in shooting (part 2)

As everyone from here to Saskachewan knows, the baby that was shot in the hostage situation in Watts died as a result of the fact that a bullet entered her body. All evidence points to the crazed father being the shooter (and killer, I might add) of the baby, although groups throughout Los Angeles are claiming the LAPD targeted the father for assassination, taking-out the baby along with him.

I like to let the facts speak for themselves. Here's information from the LAPD in regard to the Force Investigative Division (FID) inquiry that is still going on.
Prior to the incident that precipitated the encounter with Peña, his wife made a Domestic Terrorist report to Southeast officers, at about 2 PM, after Peña had threatened the wife, the stepdaughter and the baby. Officers were unable to locate Peña at the time of that investigation.

Almost two hours later, Peña’s stepdaughter called 9-1-1and reported that Peña had threatened her. Prior to police arriving, a dispatcher called back and the stepdaughter answered, but the call was abruptly ended. Dispatchers upgraded the urgency of the call to an “unknown trouble.” Patrol officers arrived just after 4 PM and Peña began shooting almost immediately, using the infant as a shield.

Over the next hour, the 17-year-old stepdaughter was able to escape from Peña’s location, rescued under fire from Peña, by LAPD officers. The rescue of this family member provided valuable information to crisis negotiators and officers at the scene. She said Peña had threatened to kill her, the baby, the wife and himself; he was very unstable and under the influence of cocaine and alcohol. Police already knew Peña was shooting at them, as well as shooting indiscriminately across the neighborhood.

Patrol officers were able to establish phone contact with Peña by about 5 PM, and crisis negotiators were talking to him soon after, but he abruptly ended that contact by 5:35 PM, with no further contact until about 6:30 PM when the last of the three shooting encounters occurred, when Peña was killed and the baby was found dead.

It seems pretty cut and dry to me. I must commend Chief Bratton for sticking up for the department by not taking any guff in relation to the comments made in the media about the shooter being some kind of hero. Most of those comments can be found in Spanish-language outlets, and as soon as they appear on the web, I'll be providing links with translation(s).
“[Whatever the results] it will change nothing having to do with the circumstances of the case. If it is found that the child died at the hands of the police department, it compounds the tragedy; it compounds the grief of this Department and our officers, in that they would have taken such a young life when they were trying to rescue that young life, but it will not change any thing relative to what we were working with: a very volatile, unstable individual, who, in many respects, left us no choice but to take the actions we took.”

Reiterating, it was Peña who was shooting at police and the neighborhood; it was Peña who was trying to kill his 17-year-old stepdaughter; it was Peña who was making threats to kill himself and his family; he told officers he was not going to jail; and it was he who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“He [Peña] was showing no predilection to give up,” Chief Bratton added. “He had already attempted to kill his 17-year-old stepdaughter in full view of your [media] cameras. Our mission was to rescue that child and protect the safety of our officers and the public.”

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