In the early morning hours of Oct. 9, 2011, someone called 911 and reported that a man was firing bullets from a rifle at houses in the area of Vineland Avenue and Valerio Street in Sun Valley.
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood Division arrived at the scene and confronted a man holding what appeared to be a rifle. According to the LAPD and witnesses, the man leveled the gun -- later determined to be a BB gun -- at an officer. The officer , Julio Sandoval.
A neighbor claimed Sandoval had told her minutes before the shooting that he had called 911 on himself because he wanted to commit suicide. His son also told news outlets that his father was drunk and had deliberately caused the confrontation with police.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the killing was one of 54 that occurred in Los Angeles County in 2011 involving law enforcement officers shooting suspects. The number is a significant increase -- 70 percent higher than in 2010 -- and is baffling because violent crime overall was down significantly in 2011.
According to the Times, there was also a major increase in occasions in which LAPD officers fired their weapons at suspects, a 60 percent increase over the previous year. See more:
North Hollywood Division officers and officers from other police agencies operating in the North Hollywood area were involved in a number of those confrontations. See these previous stories:
LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck said he believed faster responses by police to violent situations was leading to more confrontations.
"By and large these are not shootings of misperception or overreaction," he wrote in response to questions from The Times. "They are legitimate responses to serious threats."
In all, five of the 54 deadly police shootings in the county occurred in the San Fernando Valley in 2011, including Sergio Salazar, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a police standoff in Sylmar. According to the LAPD, Salazar had shot and critically wounded an officer in the face. See more:
According to the Times, instances of officer-involved shootings and killings have leveled off again in 2012 and returned to their 2010 level. Several deadly encounters have occurred in the LAPD North Hollywood Division's patrol area: