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County Agrees to $1.8M Settlement in Deputy-Involved Shooting

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to pay $1.8 million to the family of a 40-year-old woman fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy in the lobby of a Rosemead mental health clinic, where she was brandishing a hammer.

The Jan. 4, 2012, shooting occurred in the Asian Pacific Family Center at 9353 E. Valley Blvd.

"When deputies entered the lobby of the location, they encountered a female ... wielding a hammer above her head, screaming," Deputy Peter Gomez of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau said the day after the shooting. "The deputies attempted to communicate with the suspect. However, she was unresponsive and did not comply with any of the deputies' commands."

After Jazmyne Eng ignored a request to drop the hammer, one of the deputies used a Taser on her, but it had no effect, according to a Sheriff's Department review of the death.

When Eng approached with the hammer raised overhead, a deputy shot her in a hand. She then came toward his partner. The deputy, "fearing the woman was going to strike his partner with the hammer," then shot her in the chest, according to the Sheriff's Department report.

Eng was about 4 feet, 11 inches tall and 100 pounds, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records obtained by the Pasadena Star-News, which reported that Eng was schizophrenic.

Ed Winter, assistant chief for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, told the newspaper that coroner's investigators found pieces of Taser "confetti" on the floor and mixed in with some of Eng's clothing, showing that the Taser was discharged. But an exam of Eng's body showed no evidence the darts struck the woman's body, according to Winter.

The District Attorney's Office determined that the deputy was acting in self-defense and defense of others.

Unspecified administrative action, however, was taken against both deputies at the recommendation of the department's Executive Force Review committee.

County attorneys cited the "risks and uncertainties of the litigation" in recommending a settlement.

—City News Service

Just My Opinion February 20, 2014 at 12:08 PM
A sad instance indeed, but explain to me how swinging a hammer menacingly at officers does not constitute shooting in self-defense. I am sure if I swung a hammer in defiance to police they would shoot me too. If the officers followed protocol, explain to me why the County has to pay the woman's family anything. Yes, I read the article, did I miss something?
James Gordon February 22, 2014 at 08:07 PM
In order to claim self defense, the defendant needs to reasonably believe lethal force is necessary to avoid death or great bodily injury. This standard typically is met when the assailant has 1) means, 2) intent , and 3) opportunity. Since the assailant here was a tiny woman, a jury could conclude that she lacked the means to inflict great bodily injury on a much larger, stronger and armored male. The county settled to avoid the possibility of an adverse verdict.

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