An investigation began this week into an exchange of gunfire in Watts that left an 18-year-old suspect dead and a police officer wounded at the Nickerson Gardens public housing project.
The shooting was reported about 11 p.m. Monday at 112th and Antwerp streets, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Norma Eisenman.
Richard Risher, of the San Bernardino County community of Apple Valley, died at the scene, said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
Police described the confrontation as a running gun battle, but Risher’s mother said her son was unarmed and running away from the officer, when he was shot.
“He didn’t have nothing,” Lisa Simpson told Fox11. “He was running and he put his hands up, and they still shot him. They (police) got nothing but guns on their hips. They don’t Taser you no more, they kill your ass. Ain’t no tomorrow you’ll be still all right. No, they takin’ your life away from you. And they gonna pay for this. They gonna pay for this dearly.”
A police officer was treated at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for a gunshot wound to an arm, and later released. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck visited the officer at the hospital, and wrote on his Twitter page, “”I’m in awe of the courage displayed,” adding that the officer is “expected to make a full recovery and (is) in good spirits.”
Initial accounts “suggest that our brave LAPD officers endured a fierce gun battle requiring unwavering courage,” the chief said.
According to Eisenman, officers “were on extra patrols in the Nickerson Gardens community housing project,” and they saw a group of people gathered.
“In the process of dispersing them, one suspect began running,” she said. “The suspect produced a handgun and exchanged shots with the officer.”
Eisenman said gunshots were exchanged as the chase continued, and the suspect and officer were shot. Police said a gun was recovered at the scene.
Officers from around the city helped set up a perimeter at the scene to search for suspects, but Eisenman said it appeared that the dead man was the only suspect.