LAPD Officer-Involved Shooting In Topanga

November 7, 2023 ·

TOPANGA CANYON—The Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Force Investigation Division is investigating an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that transpired on November 1.

The LAPD reported around 7:45 p.m., Topanga Division uniformed officers responded to a radio call of an “Assault with a Deadly Weapon, suspect there now,” in the parking lot located in the 23300 block of Avenue San Luis.

The suspect, identified as Benjamin Pritchard, was armed with a machete and struck a victim several times causing minor injuries. Pritchard dropped the machete and produced a knife, causing the victim to run away.

Officers arrived on scene and spotted Pritchard in the parking lot, holding a knife. He ran from the officers, who broadcast a back-up request. The officers continued to follow Pritchard in their vehicle, they spotted him now armed with a glass bottle along with a knife. Officers made several attempts to detain him and gave directions to Pritchard to drop the bottle and knife. The suspect continued to flee on foot. Officers followed Pritchard, who was still armed with a knife and bottle, heading towards a nearby restaurant. Officers utilized their Public Address System to direct community members to shelter in place, as Pritchard ran into a parking lot of a restaurant.

Officers continued to verbalize with Pritchard who refused to comply, resulting in two TASER deployments. The first was ineffective and the second TASER deployment resulted in Pritchard falling to the ground, causing him to break the bottle in his possession. Still armed with the knife, the suspect stood up, and ran inside the restaurant outdoor seating area.

Patrons were still inside the restaurant as Pritchard turned towards the officers holding up the knife and an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) occurred. He was struck by gunfire and fell to the ground and taken into custody without further incident. An officer rendered medical aid until a rescue ambulance arrived.

Pritchard sustained gunshot wounds and was transported by Los Angeles Fire Department rescue ambulance to a local hospital, where he later died from his injuries. Pritchard was positively identified by representatives from the coroner’s office. Notifications to Pritchard’s next of kin were made.

A machete was recovered at the original call location and the knife was recovered at the OIS scene. No officers or other community members were injured during this incident. Force Investigation Division (FID) investigators responded to the scene and are investigating this incident.

The officers in the below incident have been identified as Police Officer III Geoffrey Carlson, Serial No. 37373 and Police Officer II Phillip Phan, Serial No. 42556 assigned to Topanga Division.

The complete investigation is expected be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Board of Police Commissioners, and the Office of the Inspector General to determine the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation and whether the use of deadly force complied with LAPD’s policies and procedures.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office who responded to the scene will review the subsequent FID investigation, evidence collected, and witness statements to determine if the force used by the officer was reasonable.

By Trevor

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