Updated at the bottom of the next page: Cops ID the suspect and say he threatened to kill them.
Police today fatally shot a suspect who was allegedly "cutting up" drugs on a downtown street in plain view and turned to them with a knife when they approached, an officer told the Weekly.
The officer involved shooting happened about 12:20 p.m. at Fifth and Spring streets, said LAPD Officer Lyle Knight.
Officer Richard French told us a plainclothes detective working on-duty in the area is the one who opened fire after the suspect turned to him with a knife.
The suspect was described as a transient in his mid-30s. He was taken to a hospital where he died, French said.
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The undercover cop was walking in the area and noticed the man allegedly "cutting up possibly narcotics" when he approached, possibly with another detective, and the man turned toward them with a knife, French said.
It wasn't clear if the shooter was working a narcotics detail in the area.
Despite its gentrification, the area around Fifth and Spring appears to remain a hotbed for drugs, particularly heroin.
Update: The LAPD on Thursday afternoon gave us some details about how it went down. While the L.A. Times might have jumped the gun in reporting initially that the suspect allegedly tried to rob the cops, that depiction isn't that far off, according to today's statement.
The suspect was ID'd as 51-year-old Dale Garrett, whom police said was "parolee at large who was a convicted felon with an extensive narcotics record."
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Garrett approached the undercover officer and solicited a narcotics sale. Garrett then verbally threatened to kill the detective while simultaneously retrieving a 7-inch folding saw resulting in an officer-involved shooting.
You know the rest.
As a matter of policy, detectives are investigating just to make sure the shooter was justified. Anyone who might have witnessed it was asked to call 213-486-5230
First posted at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.