Johnny Angel Rangel, 25
Johnny Angel Rangel, a 25-year-old Latino, was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy Friday, Oct. 16, in the 800 block of Ashcomb Drive in La Puente, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
The incident began about 1 a.m., when patrol deputies spotted Rangel walking at the corner of Amar Road and South Azusa Avenue in West Covina, just east of La Puente, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Det. Louis Aguilera.
Rangel allegedly made eye contact with the deputies and then ran across the street to try to talk to people standing outside a McDonald's restaurant, Aguilera said.
The deputies suspected Rangel was a gang member, based on his tattoos and attire, and thought his behavior was suspicious, Aguilera said. They later learned the people Rangel had run toward didn't know him. As the deputies approached Rangel in their patrol car, he allegedly dropped a folding knife on the ground and ran from the deputies, despite their orders that he stop so they could question him, the detective said.
Rangel ran into a nearby residential area and into the backyard of the house where the shooting occurred, Aguilera said.
As the deputies were looking for Rangel, a man and woman came out of the house and said a man had just broken out the sliding glass door leading to their backyard, and had come inside the house. The man told deputies that his elderly parents were sleeping in one of the bedrooms, and his father couldn't walk without assistance.
Fearing a hostage situation, Aguilera said, five deputies entered the house through the front door. When the went inside, they found the man's elderly mother, who said Rangel had gone into her daughter-in-law's bedroom. She thought her daughter-in-law was still in the bedroom, Aguilera said, and deputies feared she had been taken hostage.
The deputies helped the parents out of the house and then shouted to Rangel to come out of the room, Aguilera said.
"They could hear him moving furniture around in there and breaking glass, so they were under the impression there was a hostage in there with him," Aguilera said.
The deputies forced the bedroom door open and confronted Rangel. They allegedly used their Tasers more than once to try to subdue him, Aguilera said, "but it didn't have any impact."
The only lighting in the room was from a television that was turned on, he said. Deputies didn't know until later that the daughter-in-law was already outside.
Rangel allegedly tried to take a gun out of the hands of one of the deputies, Aguilera said. "He made multiple attempts to get the gun, and at one point he was able to grab it, but the deputy was able to hold on, and that's when he was shot by the deputy," he said.
The deputy fired just one shot, Aguilera said. Rangel was hit in the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene at 1:47 a.m.
Aguilera said he couldn't release the deputy's name this early in the investigation.
No one else was injured. Investigators found no other weapons besides the folding knife Rangel allegedly dropped at the beginning of the incident.
Investigators have learned that Rangel belonged to a gang in La Puente and had an injunction restraining him from associating with other gang members in the area, Aguilera said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.