Investigators searched for clues today to try to determine what led to an officer-involved shooting that killed a man who entered the Church of Scientology in Inglewood armed with a sword and left two police officers injured.
Police responded about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to the church at 315 S. Market St., near Manchester Boulevard, and encountered the man, who had arrived at the church in a white Bentley, and the shooting occurred to the side of a lobby area, according to Lt. Oscar Mejia of the Inglewood Police Department. The motive for the shooting was unknown.
Both officers, one with the department for 10 years, the other with four years on the force, were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta told a reporter at the hospital that one of the officers, who is in his late 20s, suffered an injured right arm and investigators were trying to determine if he had been shot, cut or injured by other means. The other officer, who is in his late 20s or early 30s, suffered a gunshot wound to a thumb, Fronterotta said.“My officers sustained non-life threatening wounds,” Fronterotta said. “They’re in good condition.”
The suspect was also taken to a hospital and was later pronounced dead, Inglewood police Lt. Scott Collins said. He had been shot in the head, according to media reports.
The officers arrived at the location separately, one after the other, Mejia said, adding that police were interviewing multiple witnesses and working to secure security video.
The Church of Scientology International praised police in a statement released Wednesday night.
“We thank the Inglewood Police Department for their rapid response in protecting our parishioners and staff members,” the statement said. “These officers are doing a heroic job protecting the community and keeping houses of worship safe against hate crimes.”
The incident was reminiscent of a shooting on Nov. 24, 2008, of a sword-wielding former Scientologist from Oregon who went to the church’s Celebrity Centre at 5930 Franklin Ave. in Hollywood and was fatally wounded by a security guard. The man, Mario Majorski, 48, of Florence, Ore., was armed with two samurai swords and apparently tried to attack security guards, one of whom fatally shot him, police said.