Cops Tear Down House to Get Suspect

Suspect in shooting of LAPD cop in Sylmar found dead

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LAPD Officer Steven Jenkins is improving but he is still in critical condition. He was shot while responding to a domestic violence call in Sylmar.

    Los Angeles police said the suspect in the shooting of a LAPD officer in Sylmar was found dead Monday on the second floor of his home. A rifle was found near the man's body, police added.

    A blood drive is scheduled for Tuesday on behalf of the wounded officer. The blood drive is at the LAPD's Central Station, at Sixth  and Wall streets in downtown Los Angeles.    

    Monday marked a long day for officers. Police used a specially built armored robot to rip apart a home in Sylmar to reach a suspected gunman.

    The building's destruction began late Monday morning when officers used the device, which is based on an oversized caterpillar forklift, to smash a window and deploy tear gas and later "hot gas."

    Officer Remains in Critical Condition After Shooting

    [LA] Officer Remains in Critical Condition After Shooting
    LAPD Officer Steven Jenkins is improving but he is still in critical condition. He was shot while responding to a domestic violence call in Sylmar.

    In response, the suspect fired shots from the residence, prompting police to return fire, police said. No officers were hit, and it was unclear if the suspect was wounded, said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman.

    The structural damage was escalated around noon as police used the crane to rip apart walls in the back of the home. Aerial video showed the majority of the second floor exposed, as well as at least one room on the first floor.

    "The whole idea is to get complete access or visual contact within the interior, so that our officers can see what is going on inside," said a police spokesman.

    By 3 p.m., the crane had also knocked out multiple windows. By 4:30 p.m., police were still smashing through walls. At 6 p.m., LAPD police officer Karen Rayner said although "we've knocked down a good portion'' of the home the suspect has not been found. By 8 p.m., police said they had found their suspect -- dead inside the home.                                    

    The LAPD acquired the robotic tool, known as the BatCat, last year. The 39,000-pound machine uses a telescopic handler to smash through walls. In Monday's standoff, police also used the robot's claw to remove furniture from the home.

    The remote-control vehicle has a top speed of 6 mph and cost almost $1 million.

    The telehandler is made by Remotec Inc., a Northrup Grumman Corp. subsidiary in Tennessee and Autonomous Solutions Inc.

    The suspect was holed up in the residence after allegedly shooting LAPD canine handler Steve Jenkins (pictured, below).

    The 22-year veteran of the force was shot about 2:15 a.m. Monday in the 13600 block of Dronfield Avenue in Sylmar while responding to a domestic dispute report, said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

    The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 50s. Police made numerous unsuccessful attempts to make contact with him, Neiman said.

    "He fired at officers several time during a 45-minute period," Neiman told the Associated Press. "He obviously couldn't care less about the lives of others."

    Residents in the area were evacuated to a high school, Neiman said.

    Officer Recovering at Hospital

    Jenkins remains in critical condition. Earlier reports he had been upgraded to serious were incorrect.

    He was rushed to Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, where he underwent surgery. The officer has two breathing tubes in his chest to help drain blood. Jenkins was shot once in the face and once in the left clavicle.

    Roth said the patient is expected to survive; however, the surgeon could not speculate on any complications that may arise as a result of the injuries.

    Police officers gathered outside Providence Holy Cross Medical Center to donate blood for Jenkins.

    Jenkins has a wife and son who are both LAPD officers, Beck said.