Two OIS Involving Hawthorne Police Under Investigation, Suspects Arrested

Two OIS's Involving Hawthorne Police Under Investigation, Suspects Arrested

HAWTHORNE (CNS) - Hawthorne police fired at suspects twice Sunday, including a man who allegedly shot the mother of his child to death during a custody exchange with officers nearby, authorities said today.

The woman was shot, reportedly with a shotgun, about 6 p.m. Sunday during the exchange outside the Hawthorne police station at 12501 S. Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne police Lt. Gary Tomatani said.

“One of our officers was inside and rushed outside when he heard the gunfire,” Tomatani told City News Service. “Witnesses told the officer that the man who shot the woman was fleeing the scene. That's when an officer- involved-shooting took place.

The suspect was not hit by the gunfire, Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff's Information Bureau said. The sheriff's department was assisting in the OIS investigations.

Police tracked the suspect's car to the area of 133rd Street and Hawthorne Boulevard outside a Denny's restaurant where it was abandoned, Tomatani said. Officers then set up a perimeter and brought in police dogs to look for the suspect. He was arrested following an almost three-hour search in the 4400 block of 134th Street, near where his vehicle was abandoned, police said.

Outside agencies took part in the search, including from Inglewood, Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica, police said. Police helicopters, SWAT and K-9 teams were on the scene.

The 17-month-old child involved in the custody exchange was safe and in police hands after the shooting, police said.

County fire paramedics responded to the scene but the victim was already dead, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Melinda Choi told CNS.

The name of the woman who was killed was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Hawthorne Boulevard and Inglewood Avenue between 131st Street and 138th Street were closed for the police investigation and reopened about 10 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said.

It was the second OIS in Hawthorne Sunday. A police officer and a suspect suffered non-life threatening wounds in an exchange of gunfire at about 9:30 a.m. near a Marriott hotel at the corner of Rosecrans Avenue and Aviation Boulevard.

Police were called to the scene because of a domestic dispute at the hotel.

When officers arrived, the suspect was spotted running across Aviation Boulevard into the Manhattan Gateway Shopping Center, Hawthorne Police Chief Michael Ishii said.

Officers followed the man into the parking lot where gunfire was exchanged between an officer and the suspect, Ishii said. During the gunfight, the officer was shot in a leg and the gunman was hit in the chest before being taken into custody.

The suspect was armed with “some sort of assault rifle ... or high- capacity weapon,” the police chief said.

Both men were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The officer went into surgery to repair his wounded leg and was last reported in stable condition. He will remain in the hospital for at least overnight, Tomatoni said.

Photo: Andrew Mollenbeck

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