Double-amputee with a knife shot and killed by police; family claims excessive force used


Videos capturing the moments before the shooting of a knife-wielding double-amputee man after a stabbing attack have raised questions about whether police used excessive force in Huntington Park, Southern California.

Thursday afternoon, Huntington Park Police Department officers responded to a report of a stabbing, the department said in a statement Monday. Responding officers “found the victim suffering from a fatal stab wound, resulting in a collapsed lung and internal bleeding,” the statement said.

The victim described the attacker as a black man in a wheelchair who “set down the wheelchair, ran up to the victim without provocation, and stabbed him in the side of the chest with a 12” butcher knife and then fled the scene in his wheelchair. HPPD said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and remains in critical condition, according to HPPD.

During their search, police found the suspect a few blocks away holding a 12-inch butcher knife, HPPD said. The suspect ignored the officer’s commands and threatened to “move on or drop the knife,” and officers used two separate Tasers to subdue the suspect but were unsuccessful, HPPD said.

“The suspect continued to threaten officers with a butcher knife, resulting in an officer-involved shooting,” HPPD said. It was not immediately clear how many officers attended or if the suspect was shot.

The suspect was shot in the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in an initial statement.

The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave pending ongoing investigations by HPPD, the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, HPPD said.

The sheriff’s department confirmed the investigation but declined to comment.

Although authorities have not named the man who died, family members identified him as 36-year-old Anthony Lowe at a news conference held by community organizers.

Videos of the incident posted on social media show a confrontation between police and Lowe shortly before Thursday’s shooting. Lowe’s family members confirmed to CNN that the man in the video is Lowe.

In one video, two uniformed officers are seen pointing their guns at Lowe. Lowe then appears to move in the opposite direction, holding something shiny in his hand, while an officer follows him. A police car then blurs the view. Another video from a different perspective shows the moment officers appeared to open fire.

“The way they killed my son, they killed my son in a wheelchair with no legs,” Anthony Lowe’s mother, Dorothy Lowe, said at a news conference Monday. “So they have to do something about it, because I want justice for my son.”

Family members did not address the suggestion that Lowe may have stabbed someone before the shooting.

Family and community members are calling on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon to charge the officers involved.

“There is no justification for killing Anthony, and we are here to stand with his family and his community to fight for justice for Anthony,” said Cliff Smith, an organizer with the Coalition for Community Control over Police.

Ebonique Simon, the mother of Lowe’s children, told CNN that Lowe was a loving, caring father who loved to dance and was very funny. He said he was “going through a lot of depression” after losing his legs in an incident about a year ago.

He told CNN the family is heartbroken by the loss and can’t understand the story police are telling.

The family is anxiously awaiting the results of the autopsy as the coroner assures them that “Anthony’s body will tell the story.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will conduct an independent review after the sheriff’s department completes its investigation, but communications director Tiffany Blacknell said in a statement to CNN that it would be inappropriate to comment until the case is formally presented.

“We know the black community in Los Angeles is reeling and searching for answers. We know nothing can heal the trauma the community is feeling right now,” he said, adding, “Los Angeles County deserves to know how and why these events happened.”

California’s attorney general’s office, which is required under state law to independently investigate officer-involved shootings in the state, told CNN it was not investigating the matter “at this time.”


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