Calif. man fatally shot by officer

By Andrew Blankstein, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles police sergeant responding to a disturbance early Wednesday at a Masonic Lodge in South Los Angeles shot and killed an unarmed man reaching for his waistband, department officials said.

Philip Arthur Miller, 43, of Carson died at the scene, a coroner's spokesman said.

The shooting occurred about 12:15 a.m. at the Mount Nebo Grand Lodge in the 9700 block of Avalon Boulevard near East 97th Street, said Sgt. Lee Sands of the Los Angeles Police Department.

At least 30 and perhaps as many as 100 people had gathered inside the lodge for a party, police said. As police arrived to investigate complaints about noise, they heard gunshots from inside, Sands said.

Moments later, a man emerged from the lodge bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He was followed by Miller, who was holding his waistband, said a source familiar with the shooting.

The sergeant told police investigators he believed that Miller was reaching for a weapon. The sergeant opened fire on Miller, Sands said.

No weapon was found on Miller, Sands said.

The first man, who was wounded in what police described as an unrelated shooting, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition, Sands said.

The sergeant's name was not immediately released.

Police later found guns inside the lodge, as well as scotch and beer bottles. No arrests were made, but police said they were continuing their investigation.

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