The man shot by cops in a rare and shocking confrontation in tony Bel Air was identified last night as 75-year-old Robert Joseph Bandler, a coroner's official told the Weekly.
Police said the man was armed with a shotgun when cops opened fire outside his home just up the hill from the legendary Hotel Bel-Air. Neighbors told reporters that Bandler had run-ins with police in the past:
It happened outside 1256 Stone Canyon Road about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Det. Gus Villanueva told reporters that it all started when a Southern California Gas Company worker responded to a report of a gas leak at the location and was confronted by a man with a handgun.
By the time cops from the West Los Angeles Division got to the scene the suspect had a shotgun:
When the officers arrived, when they encountered the same resident, he was armed with a shotgun.
The man was apparently pronounced dead at the location, as paramedics responded but didn't end up taking anyone to a hospital, according to the L.A. Fire Department.
Neighbors said the man they knew as Bob was a neighborhood fixture who had issues.
Michael Dempsey told Fox 11 News, “He was known around the block as Crazy Bob. He was a little off.”
Another neighbor told the station, “It's a known fact in this neighborhood that Bob is nuts.”
Some were still surprised, however, that police used lethal force. Bandler was said to be a possible Vietnam veteran with PTSD and a drinking problem. “He loses it quite often,” a local woman told ABC Eyewitness News.
The shooting was under investigation.