LAPD Homeless Shooting - Police & Lawyer Accounts Differ FWD

Tom Boland (
Thu, 27 May 1999 14:34:57 -0700 (PDT)

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FWD  [Los Angeles TV] Channel 2000 - May 26, 1999


     Police And Lawyer Offer Differing Accounts Of Incident

LOS ANGELES, Posted 6:05 a.m. May 26, 1999 -- Questions continue today in
the shooting death of a homeless woman by a Los Angeles police officer.

Margaret Laverne Mitchell (pictured), 54, was killed last Friday, said CBS
2 News.

A Los Angeles police captain said Tuesday night that the officer who
fatally shot Mitchell was falling backward as she advanced on him with a
footlong screwdriver, prompting him to shoot.

"As Officer (Edward) Larrigan was preparing to transmit a request for an
additional unit via his radio, Mitchell raised the screwdriver parallel to
the ground and lunged toward the officer," Capt. Jim Tatreau told a wire

Officer Larrigan, to avoid being stabbed, moved to his left and east and
fired one round from his service pistol as he simultaneously stumbled from
the curb onto the roadway," he said at a Police Commission meeting in Bel

Police said several witnesses corroborated that account.

However, civil rights attorney Leo Terrell, who is representing the dead
woman's family, claims he has three witnesses with a differing story,
reported the wire service.

One witness, Terrell said, even told police Mitchell had turned away from
Larrigan when he fired.

Both the LAPD and the FBI are investigating the shooting. It occurred near
La Brea Avenue and Fourth Street about 4:20 p.m. Friday afternoon when
officers tried to question Mitchell about the shopping cart she was

Officer Larrigan, 27, and his partner, 29-year-old Kathy Clark, were in
their bike patrol uniforms when they ordered the woman to stop. She refused
and pulled the screwdriver, police told the wire service.

Mitchell, a 5-foot 1-inch, 102-pound woman, had lived on the streets around
Hancock Park for several years.

A small memorial of flowers, notes and candles now decorates the site of
the shooting (pictured).

A trust fund is being set up to help Mitchell's family with burial
expenses. Contributions to the fund should be sent to his office at 8383
Wilshire Blvd, Suite 942, Beverly Hills, 90211.


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