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  • Death date
  • March 1, 2012

Frank Martinez, 27

Frank Martinez, a 27-year-old Latino, was shot and killed by police Thursday, March 1, in the 15500 block of Escalona Road in La Mirada, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Martinez, a documented gang member, was wanted in connection with a double homicide Nov. 30 in East L.A. He had been on the run since the slayings, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

When officers arrived at the La Mirada residence to serve a warrant, Martinez scrambled on to the roof of a nearby home. Three officers and an FBI agent fired after Martinez appeared to reach into his pocket, Smith said. The officers also believed he fired at least one shot.

The accounts that the suspect had armed himself were supported by multiple civilian witnesses interviewed at the scene, Smith said.

Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene as news helicopters showed live video of him lying on the roof, covered by a white sheet. None of the officers were injured in the shooting.

Authorities initially said witnesses, including officers and residents, told them the suspect reached into his pocket and fired what was believed to be a handgun.

But LAPD and FBI officials said their ongoing investigation found no evidence either at the scene or during an L.A. County coroner's examination over the weekend that the suspect had a weapon. Investigators presented their preliminary findings to LAPD's top commanders Tuesday.

In explaining the apparent contradiction between the initial reports and the investigation's latest findings, Smith said the department was trying to give the most immediate and accurate information they had at the time.

"These are very chaotic scenes and the officers all reported they believed they were being fired on," Smith said. "That's why we have our Force Investigation Division, to sort through all the information, evidence and witnesses statements."

Smith said the LAPD wanted to correct the record as quickly as possible given the new facts in the case.

Anyone with additional information about the shooting is asked to contact the LAPD at (877) 527-3247 . Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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