Some call him troubled. Others call him a “coldblooded killer.” Whatever you call him, there is no dispute that this past weekend, Jose Pena used a toddler — Susie Lopez — as a human shield as he exchangd gunfire with the LAPD. As a result, the LAPD shot and killed the toddler, along with Pena. It was reportedly the first time in the SWAT team’s 38 year history that a hostage has been killed by the LAPD. The family of Susie Lopez has retained a lawyer, Luis Carrillo, and accusations of excessive force and cover ups are already flying.
It has also been reported that Pena told the police that he was not going to jail, Pena told his stepdaughter that he was going to shoot his own daughter and Pena threatened his own wife. Had the LAPD not acted in the face of these acts and threats, does anyone doubt that lawyers would be second guessing the LAPD for inaction? (LA Times “Coroner Says Toddler Shot by LAPD Officer,” Jul. 13, MSNBC, “War of words escalates in deadly L.A. shooting,” Jul. 14.)