🔥 LAPD releases video of officers fatally shooting pellet-gun-wielding woman in Rampart

LAPD releases video of officers fatally shooting pellet-gun-wielding woman in Rampart

The Los Angeles Police Department released edited footage Monday from the fatal police shooting of a woman near a freeway overpass in Silver Lake last month, showing officers shouting orders at the woman and then opening fire after she raised what turned out to be a pellet gun in their direction.

A preliminary LAPD investigation found that several of the officers’ shots may have gone into a nearby group of tents belonging to homeless people.

The graphic videos, released on the department’s YouTube page, captured officers rolling up to Mariela Cardenas and training their police cruiser’s spotlight on her as she jogged down the sidewalk.

A male officer is heard yelling “Hey, get your f— hands up!” as he jumped out of the cruiser.

His female partner shouted, “Hey, put your hands up! Now, now!”

She began to repeat herself, “put your hands…,” but is cut off by the sound of gunfire.

The videos give a clearer view of the Feb. 22 incident, which drew intense scrutiny online from anti-police-violence activists after the department identified one of the officers involved in the shooting: Jacqueline McBride, the daughter of the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s outspoken vice president.

McBride and the other two officers involved — Miguel Salazar and Preston Moseby — are back on the job after spending several days on paid administrative leave, in keeping with department policy.

An LAPD spokeswoman said Monday she couldn’t comment on any specifics about the incident because it remained under investigation.

“Any time we lose a life it’s always tragic, and we send our condolences to the family,” said police Capt. Kelly Muniz.

The officers from the department’s Rampart Division responded to multiple 911 calls about a woman in a trench coat pointing a gun at passersby in the area around Silver Lake Boulevard and Temple Street, according to a police account of the incident. The calls came in shortly before 8 p.m.

McBride and her partner encountered Cardenas, who matched the suspect’s description, near an overpass of the 101 Freeway, police said. As she passed them, they hopped out of their cruiser and began yelling at her to drop her weapon.

The third officer involved in the shooting arrived in a separate vehicle.

They assumed Cardenas had a revolver in her hand, according to the footage, a compilation of video from body-worn and dashboard cameras. Cardenas ignored commands and continued toward the overpass.

In one of the police videos, Cardenas appears to turn back to the officers and extend her right arm toward them. Almost immediately, officers opened fire, and Cardenas dropped to the pavement. The object in her hand clattered into the street.

After handcuffing her, officers attempted to resuscitate Cardenas. She was taken by ambulance to L.A. County-USC Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Only later did officers see she had been holding a pellet gun that looked like a revolver, according to a photo on the LAPD website. It had a black barrel and brownish grip.

The shooting occurred within eight seconds of officers encountering Cardenas.

The incident will be reviewed by LAPD investigators, who will consider such factors as whether the officers should have reasonably assumed Cardenas was armed and whether they should have fired, knowing she was standing near a homeless encampment.

The findings eventually will be presented to the LAPD’s civilian oversight commission. Such investigations typically take from several months to a year.

At least one or two of the police bullets may have struck a pair of tents near the overpass, according to a search warrant application by Frank Marino, a detective with the department’s Force Investigations Division.

The warrant sought permission from a judge to search the two tents for any bloody clothing, spent shell casings and a red jacket with apparent bullet holes that officers observed from outside the tent.

Marino wrote in the warrant application that two holes found in the tents tested positive for lead, suggesting they were made by bullets.

It was not clear whether someone was inside the tents at the time of the shooting.

The incident drew widespread criticism online after the department revealed that McBride was involved. She became the third member of her immediate family to shoot someone in the line of duty.

Her father, Jamie McBride, the controversial union official, was involved in at least six police shootings, none fatal, in the first 11 years of his career. His other daughter, Toni McBride — a sharp-shooting influencer and model on Instagram who joined the LAPD in 2017 — fatally shot Daniel Hernandez in 2020 in South Los Angeles after he moved toward her with a knife.

After a months-long internal investigation, the Police Commission found that Toni’s use of deadly force was justified, but that the last two of her six shots were out of policy.

She was later cleared of wrongdoing in a separate investigation by the office of California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, which investigates most shootings of unarmed civilians by police. But the ruling was met with skepticism because it was based in part on the analysis of a police use-of-force consultant whose work has been criticized for years as illegitimate.

Unlike her better-known relatives, Jacqueline McBride seems to avoid the limelight.

Little is known about Cardenas, and attempts to reach her relatives through a GoFundMe page set up to help pay funeral expenses were unsuccessful. A tribute video posted online, set to the stirring horns of La Adictiva’s “Mi Último Día,” said she “was a mother, a daughter, she was a sister, she was a friend.”

It is not clear whether she was homeless, as some news accounts and advocates have suggested. Public records show a person with her name lived at an address in the 500 block of Rampart Boulevard — roughly a mile south of where the shooting occurred.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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