Jill Leovy, Times Staff Writer
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
All Rights Reserved
A bounty hunter seeking to take a fugitive into custody was shot and wounded by a police officer who mistook him for a criminal, authorities said.
Elvin Gilbert, 47, a bail recovery agent from the Sacramento area, was in stable condition Thursday at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood after the shooting involving Los Angeles Police Officers Dan Pearce, 28, and Harlan Taylor, 25, Wednesday evening.
Gilbert was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on an officer. Police said he continued to wield his gun after both officers ordered him to drop it, and, by some accounts, pointed it at them.
The fugitive, whom police did not identify, was held on an outstanding warrant.
According to police, the officers heard a commotion near the 2100 block of East 99th Place in South Los Angeles and saw two African American men confronting a Latino. Police said one of the black men held a gun to the head of the Latino, who called out that he was being robbed. When the officers ordered Gilbert to drop his gun and he didn't obey, they shot him, officials said.
Bystander Elvonzo Cromwell, 27, said that Gilbert and his unidentified partner were dressed all in black and that Gilbert looked like a robber. "I thought he was one of these street thugs from around here. He came off like that," he said.
Cromwell described a chaotic scene after the shooting -- one witnessed by many bystanders. He said he didn't hear the police yell orders for Gilbert to drop his gun, but he said the man was holding a gun when he was shot. The police "came out of nowhere all of a sudden," he said. He said a shot went over his head.
Customarily, bounty hunters inform local police of their planned operations, but the officers in this case had not been notified, police said. They are investigating whether other LAPD officials had been notified.
December 2, 2005
Bail agent is shot by Calif. officer