Gabriel Lopez-Gonzalez, 22, a resident of Van Nuys, has been identified as the man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting in the city of San Fernando on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
In an interview with the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol, Lt.. Dave Coleman of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the San Fernando police responded to a 9-1-1 call from a woman saying that she was being held at gunpoint inside her residence. Coleman said that Lopez-Gonzalez was the woman’s estranged boyfriend, and that he had arrived at her residence unannounced.
Coleman was part of the investigative team that walked through the scene.
The lieutenant held a briefing for media gathered at a spot closest to the residence; the area was cordoned off with police tape. Many local residents in this tight-knit community also gathered and listened in as the briefing was held. Members of the slain suspect’s family were kept on the opposite corner on Brand away from media.
At the briefing, Coleman emphasized that information was “extremely preliminary,” but said that the San Fernando Police Department received a 9-1-1- call at approximately 3:30 p.m. from a resident who said that she was being held at gunpoint inside her home, located in the 800 block of South Brand.
“When officers responded they observed a female running outside from the residence followed by a male with a handgun …He drew the handgun at the officers as they approached and that’s when the [officer involved] shooting occurred. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene,” Coleman said.
Coleman also said during the briefing that a handgun was recovered from the scene, but later told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol the suspect had a semi-automatic weapon. He added the girlfriend who ran from the house received a bullet wound and was being treated at a nearby hospital. It is unclear when she received the injury and she is reported to be in critical but stable condition.
He said there was another female and two small children who remained inside the residence at the time of the shooting.
Police had set up a command post outside nearby O’Melveny Elementary School, where there was a report of another person who had been injured. However, Coleman said he did not have further details on that incident and could not confirm if it was related to the officer involved shooting.
Another police source told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that the person was a female and her injuries were “very minor,” and she transported herself to the hospital.
San Fernando residents told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol they are very concerned and questioned what they considered the immediate use of deadly force by the San Fernando police.
A man who identified himself as a cousin of the suspect said that Lopez-Gonzalez had been a student at Santa Monica college and he “loved to run.” He said he had no knowledge of him owning or having a gun.
Neighbors confirmed that the suspect’s 18-year-old girlfriend, who they said was a recent graduate from a charter high school in Lake View Terrace and lived at the residence. They said that she had been taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.
One resident said she saw the entire video of the incident that was taken by a motorist who stopped and recorded the incident on his cellphone. She said she was there when he later sold the video to KNBC, which broadcast a portion of the video which she estimated was about two minutes long.
“After he sold the video, he became very nervous and said he didn’t want anyone to use his name. On the video, I saw about six San Fernando police officers wearing bullet proof vests with weapons drawn. They positioned themselves in front of the house carrying large rifles, and as soon as the young woman got out of the house, they shot at him as he stood on the driveway. It looked like the police shot him in the face,” she said.
Residents also questioned why, several hours after the shooting occurred, the body had not been removed from the driveway of the home and several gun casings could still be seen on the ground.
The next morning, blood was visible on the driveway and the wrought iron gate that bordered the lawn and driveway was securely locked. No one appeared to be at the residence.
A man who lived next door said that he was in his backyard when the shooting occurred and the police instructed him to go inside his house.
The San Fernando Police Department had no comment and referred all calls to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
Coleman said the Sheriff’s Homicide Department would be investigating the shooting independently of the San Fernando Police Department.