A story for every victim

Eric Rivera, 20

Eric Rivera, a 20-year-old Latino, was shot and killed Tuesday, June 6, in the 1100 block of North Wilmington Boulevard in Wilmington, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Officers from LAPD’s Harbor Division responded about 9 p.m. to a “man with a gun” call in the area, according to a statement released by the department.

When officers arrived, they saw a lone man in his mid-20s, later identified as Rivera.

“Believing this may be the suspect from the radio call, they directed their attention toward him; at that time there was an officer-involved shooting,” the department said in the statement.

Authorities provided a vague account of what happened, but said that several shots were fired, then a police cruiser “traveled forward,” striking Rivera and pinning him underneath the vehicle, police said.

Police found a toy gun at the scene.

LAPD officials did not say whether officers saw the toy gun before opening fire or whether the man aimed it at police. Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene.

During the deadly encounter, one of the officers suffered an injury to his arm and was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Police have not explained how the officer was injured but said he was released after treatment.

The shooting may have been caught on video because police cruisers in the LAPD’s South Bureau are equipped with dash cameras.

An initial police radio call of an “officer down” overstated the extent of the officer’s injury, and a dispatcher described the officer as having been shot in the arm.

“Shots fired; can you help?” an out-of-breath officer is heard saying into his radio. The officer then advised where to approach the scene on Wilmington Boulevard.

“Suspect down by vehicle; possible gunfire,” the officer said shortly after to a dispatcher.

Another officer’s voice interjected, “We’ve got an officer down.”

A dispatcher then tells officers over the radio that one of the officers at the scene was shot in the arm and directs all units to West Denni Street and North Wilmington Boulevard.

Once the LAPD’s specialized shooting investigators arrived, they determined that the officers had not been fired at and that the item recovered at the scene was a toy gun.

Initially, a police spokesman said another suspect was in custody. But as the investigation evolved, LAPD Communications Director Josh Rubenstein said only one person — Rivera, the man who was fatally shot — was involved in the encounter.

A multiagency investigation is underway, which is standard procedure for all LAPD officer-involved shootings. It will be reviewed by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the Police Commission and its inspector general.

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