Anthony David Soderberg, 29
Anthony David Soderberg, a 29-year-old white man, was shot and killed by LAPD officers Monday, May 8, in the 11300 block of Alethea Drive in Sunland, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
About 9 a.m., a homeowner reported a burglar in her kitchen, Los Angeles Police Det. Meghan Aguilar said. The resident was able to escape through a back window, she said.
When officers arrived, they peered through a window of the house and saw that a man, later identified as Soderberg, had armed himself with a gun belonging to one of the residence’s occupants, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
The officers then backed off and called for a SWAT team, Beck said, launching a standoff that lasted five hours.
As officers surrounded the house, police used a bullhorn to try to persuade the man to surrender, department officials said.
The home, located at the top of a hill and surrounded by brush and debris, created a “very difficult location” for SWAT officers, which led to the decision to bring in officers trained to fire from a helicopter, a first for the LAPD.
“The suspect definitely had high ground at all of the ground officers, was firing indiscriminately at them — and actually fired at the helicopter, we believe,” Beck said.
About 2:45 p.m., SWAT officers fired tear gas into the home from an armored vehicle, forcing Soderberg to flee through the back of the house, police said.
He was shot when he emerged and opened fire at police. His body then rolled down a hill into a ravine, police said.
Beck said an autopsy would reveal how many times Soderberg was struck by gunfire and whether it came from officers on the ground or in the helicopter.
The decision to bring in police shooters from a helicopter was not taken lightly, the chief said.
It requires approval from a high-level officer — in this case, an assistant chief who also discussed it with Beck beforehand.
Beck told police commissioners Tuesday that investigators still were searching the scene, hampered in part by tear gas vapors still lingering inside the house. But, he said, it appeared that department officials acted appropriately when deciding to put SWAT officers inside the helicopter.
“It requires very specific criteria that have to be met regarding terrain, regarding weather, regarding the threat to the community, regarding the other options that have been utilized,” the chief told his civilian bosses. “It appears that those criteria were met. Obviously there will be further review of this to ensure that.”
— Tony Barboza and Richard Winton contributed to this report