Man Killed By Torrance Police Had Altered Pellet Rifle

TORRANCE (CNS) - A rifle carried by a suspect who was shot dead by police in Torrance turned out to be a pellet gun with an altered stock, authorities said today. 

Christopher Mitchell, 23, of Los Angeles died at the scene of the officer-involved shooting about 8 p.m. Sunday in the Ralphs parking lot at 1770 Carson St., authorities said. Mitchell was armed with a rifle and sitting in a black 2000 Honda Civic that had been reported stolen when he was fatally shot, Torrance Police Sgt. Ronald Harris said. 

Officers were on patrol about 7:25 p.m. Sunday near 220th Street and Western Avenue when they were flagged down by a man who told them his vehicle was stolen two days earlier and he saw it being driven near Carson Street and Western Avenue, Harris said. 

The officers located the vehicle in the Ralphs lot, he said.

``Upon approaching the vehicle to conduct their investigation, officers were met by an adult male who was armed with a rifle, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,'' the sergeant said. The officers performed life-saving measures on the wounded man, but he died on site, Harris said. 

The Honda had been stolen on Friday, Harris confirmed.

``Investigators also examined the rifle recovered at the scene and identified it as a Crosman Phantom 1000 air rifle with what appears to have an altered buttstock,'' Harris said. 

The Special Operations Bureau of the Torrance Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office are investigating the shooting, Harris said.

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