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Dale Garrett, 51

Dale Garrett, a 51-year-old black man, was fatally shot by an undercover detective Tuesday, May 10, near 5th and Spring streets in downtown, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

The shooting occurred about 12:20 p.m. It was initially reported that Garrett, a transient, was shot during a robbery.

But police now say detectives were walking in the neighborhood when they saw Garrett cutting up what appeared to be narcotics.

The detectives confronted Garrett and attempted to take him into custody, police said.

Garrett, who was armed with a knife, turned toward the detectives, authorities said.

The detectives stepped back and the suspect was then shot, police said. It was unclear if one or more officers fired at Garrett.

Detectives immediately called for paramedics. Garrett later died at a hospital from his injuries.

Irene Fertik, a freelance photographer who lives on Spring Street, was returning home from grand jury duty and was about to cross the street at 5th and Spring when she heard two shots.

"I looked up and saw an undercover cop with his gun out pointed at the fallen man," Fertik said. "There was no blood and the man was facing down."

Fertik pulled out her iPhone and started snapping shots. Meanwhile, a crowd was gathering in the area and people were asking the officer, who was showing his badge, why he shot the suspect.

She said the officer who fired the shots yelled, "He's got a knife under him!" Fertik said. She noted that the officer was angry that she had photographed the scene, telling her, "Shame on you for photographing a dying man."

The LAPD Force Investigation Division (FID) responded to the incident and is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact FID Det. John Roeda at (213) 486-5230. Tipsters who would like to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800) 222-8477.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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