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LAPD Officers Kill 23-Year-Old Bicyclist Kevin Wooten On Christmas Morning

Updated with correct name of victim. Originally posted at 10:30 a.m.

Kevin Wooten, a young black man (according to the coroner's report) from Watts, was riding his bicycle at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning. He was passing through the Jordan Downs Housing Project, near 9900 Grape Street in Watts.

Wooten's fatal mistake: Police say he was holding an assault rifle.

KTLA -- and no other major news outlets -- reported yesterday morning that when 23-year-old Wooten did not drop the weapon at the request of officers, they opened fire:

Police had received a report of an assault involving a rifle. They were questioning people inside an SUV at the housing area, when the armed man came toward them on a bicycle.

Officers say he ignored their commands to drop the rifle, prompting them to shoot him.

Wooten was pronounced dead soon after at a nearby hospital. According to the coroner's report, his cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds. A rifle was recovered from the scene of the homicide.

Eighteen-year-old James Davis, also from Watts, was killed by LAPD officers just last month at the Imperial Courts Housing Project. There was about a week of controversy following the homicide, as multiple eyewitnesses claimed that Officer Manuel Castenada had not been provoked by Davis before shooting him. One woman added that no attempt was made to save the 18-year-old in the moments that followed.

Only minority-specific publications picked up the Davis story. Here, the Los Angeles Wave reports:

The Wave also points out that one year ago, Castenada killed another 22-year-old black male, Joshua Akeeda, in the same neighborhood.

Chief Charlie Beck offered a stock explanation on KPCC radio.

We're currently trying to reach the LAPD's Southeast Homicide Division for more information on the Kevin Wooten Christmas Day homicide; check back for updates.

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, the murder of 35-year-old white man Doug Zerby by Long Beach police is a No. 1 Los Angeles news item. His family is pressing charges.


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