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News Release

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Media Relations

Officer-Involved-Shooting in West Valley Division NRF068-18hg

**The following information is based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence. The Department's understanding of the facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed**

Sherman Oaks: Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Force Investigation Division is investigating an Officer-Involved Shooting (OIS) that occurred in an Encino neighborhood.

On December 22, 2018, around 9:20 pm, West Valley Patrol Division uniformed officers responded to a radio call of a male causing a disturbance in the area of Weddington Street and Shoshone Avenue.

Upon arrival the officers located the male, later identified as Steven Michael Benavidez, confronting a community member with a large knife. Officers attempted to detain Benavidez, who then ran from them, and the officers went in foot pursuit through a residential area. Upon reaching the front of a residence on the 5200 block of Shoshone Avenue, Benavidez pointed a gun at the officers, resulting in an Officer-Involved Shooting.

Benavidez was struck by the officer's gunfire but continued to run and fled into a residential area. A perimeter was established and SWAT personnel located him in a backyard. Benavidez was taken into custody after a Non-Categorical Use of Force involving the discharge of a 40-millimeter launcher and a bean bag shotgun. Benavidez was transported by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel to a local hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and listed in stable condition.

No officers were injured during the incident and a pellet gun and large knife were recovered at scene. Benavidez was booked for 245(A)(1) PC Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

LAPD's specialized Force Investigation Division (FID) responded to the scene and began interviewing witnesses and collecting forensic evidence. A representative from the Office of the Inspector General responded and monitored the scene investigation.

The complete investigation will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and 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. Additionally, representatives from 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 officers(s) was reasonable.

Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is urged to call the LAPD at any of the following numbers:

  • During business hours at (213) 486-5230;
  • During non-business hours or on weekends at (877)-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247);
  • Anonymously 24-hours a day to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or by texting "LAPD" and your tip to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S); or
  • Online at www.lapdonline.org and click on "Anonymous Web Tips.


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