HIGHLAND PARK — The L.A. Police Department has provided more information about an officer-involved shooting that took place Aug. 9 during a traffic stop in the 5400 block of Nordyke Street on the border of Highland Park and Eagle Rock. A man was injured after he was hit by police gunfire after he allegedly armed himself with a handgun and moved toward an officer. Here’s an LAPD account of what happened:
“On Tuesday, August 9, 2016, around 1:00 a.m., Northeast Patrol Division Police Officer Enrique Meraz, Serial No. 41215 and his partner were in the area of the 5400 block of Nordyke Street. They saw a black Honda Accord commit several traffic violations and initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. The vehicle stopped and during the course of the investigation the officers discovered a female passenger had an arrest warrant for a narcotics violation. The female was handcuffed and placed in the rear of the police vehicle. The officers approached the vehicle where the driver, 34-year-old Joseph Hatami, was still seated in the driver’s seat. Officer Meraz was on the passenger side and his partner on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Looking through the open passenger door, Officer Meraz saw Hatami looking in the direction of his partner, arm himself with a handgun and begin to step out of the vehicle toward his partner. Fearing for his partner’s life, Officer Meraz fired twice at Hatami, striking him once.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the scene and transported Hatami to a local hospital. Hatami was treated for a gunshot wound to his buttocks.”
The suspect has been charged with one count of a felon in possession of a firearm.
The investigation, when completed, will be turned over to the police chief Police Commissioners to determine whether the officers followed LAPD policies and procedures. Anyone with additional information regarding this shooting is asked to call the LAPD at any of the following numbers at (213) 486-5230. Information can be supplied anonymously by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.
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