SWAT Officers Randy Simmons and James Veenstra, both long time veterans of the LAPD, were shot as they entered a home in the West San Fernando Valley this morning around 1:00am. Officer Simmons is dead and Officer Veenstra is in critical condition with wounds to the face, but is expected to survive.
This is the first time a SWAT member has been killed in action.
I heard about this on KFWB this morning as I was driving. By then, of course, the shooter was dead, the house was an inferno and the LAFD was trying to figure out how to put the damn thing out without risking getting shot. From the sound of it, in the end they just let it burn.
This whole mess started last night around 9:00 when Edwin Rivera, 21, called the police saying that he had killed three members of his family and would they be so kind as to pop by and take him out, too. Not like that, of course, but that was the gist. His actual words were, "Come get me."
SWAT entered around 12:30, found two dead in the house, one alive, who later died after they got him out. Gun fire, two officers hit and a pullback. Around 5am police lobbed tear gas. I can't say whether the tear gas started the fire, but I'd say it's a pretty good bet.
Rivera finally came out of the house around 7:30, where a sniper got him with a head shot.
Who knows why he did it. That's irrelevant, anyway. The point is that five people are dead, one of whom had spent the last twenty-seven years in service to the city performing some of the most hazardous duties a police officer can be called upon to do.
Just another day in the City of The Angels, I guess.