Lead Story West Edition

Police shoot and kill suspected car burglar

LOS ANGELES — Anna Jiminez wiped away tears that flowed down her face.

She had brought a candle to place in front of the house where her boyfriend, 23-year-old Pablo Cartagena, was shot and killed by police Nov. 28.

She didn’t want to talk to a reporter, but neighbor Donna Martinez said Cartagena was a young father of a little girl and that he was trying to find his way. Her voice cracked as Martinez explained that Cartagena often hung out on the street with her son.

LAPD officers shot and killed Cartegna as he was burglarizing a car near 28th Street and Adams Boulevard.

“It hits home to me cause he was the same age as my son,” Martinez said.  “And my son’s kind of doing the same thing, you know, ripping and running, so you know, it hits home. It’s just sad.”

Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section said no officers were injured in the shooting, which was reported just after 1 p.m.

Police said officers with the LAPD’s Metro Division were on a crime suppression detail in the area when they saw what they believe was a car being burglarized. They chased the suspect on foot, then one of the officers fired at the man, who police said was struck and pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they recovered a gun at the scene, which they believe belonged to the suspect.

“They could have just shot him in the leg or something, they didn’t have to kill him,” Martinez said.  “That’s just they’re reaction, but you don’t have to shoot to kill. They need to give these cops training.

“They put them out here in these streets, and they know these streets are rough, but something’s got to change. Something’s got to change. On both ends.”

Police commissioners have said they are working to implement more community policing guidelines, something Martinez said would benefit her neighborhood.

“They need some kind of communication,” she said. “Get out of their cars, talk to people, [say] ‘how are you doing? What’s going on in the community?’ Not just pass and harass.”

Martinez said neighbors are looking for answers, and says one way to stop police shootings is for the community to get together and become more involved in the lives of what she calls a lost generation.  While doing so can be difficult because parents have to work, she said getting kids involved in activities would also help, but that kids in her neighborhood have little to do and little ambition because of it.

Her eyes welled up and her voice wavered as she considered the consequences of her community remaining on the same path.

“We’re going to continue to do this over and over again, and bury people that we love over and over and over again,” she said. “And it’s sad, cause like the family’s the ones that suffer, cause you have to deal with that loss cause he’s gone.”