Police now say an unnamed off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer shot and killed 32-year-old Kenneth French while holding his own child in his arms after French allegedly attacked him in an unprovoked incident near the Corona, California, store’s freezer section, according to NBC News. Two of French’s family members were also injured in the shooting.
Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said Sunday it will be up to LAPD Chief Michel Moore whether to put the unidentified officer on leave. The police have made no statements about his condition or his status with the department after the shooting.
The LAPD is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting while Corona police and the Riverside County district attorney’s office conduct a criminal probe.
According to a preliminary investigation, the officer fired his weapon six times after French allegedly “assaulted” him “without provocation” as the officer held his child, Corona police said Saturday.
French was the lone person killed in the incident and the officer’s gun is the only weapon involved in the shooting, according to Tobias Kouroubacalis with the Corona Police Dept.
Several people, including the LAPD off-duty officer, were hospitalized with injuries. The officer’s child was unharmed.
Initial reports suggested that French had opened fire inside the store, but police have now clarified that the gun involved in the incident belonged to the police officer, Corona police said.
It is unclear if the off-duty LAPD officer fired his own weapon or his department-issued gun, and why.
The LAPD allows off-duty officers to carry concealed weapons as long as they are authorized for on-duty use, according to the police manual, the Associated Press reported.
“The Department has initiated an Administrative Investigation and is working with the Corona Police Department to learn more about the incident,” Los Angeles police said in a statement published by CNN.
“From my understanding, from some people we talked to, there was apparently an argument inside,” Lt. Jeff Edwards of the Corona police department told reporters. “Some type of argument and ensued into a gun shot.”
Most of the injuries occurred when shoppers scrambled to leave the store and became stuck when the emergency doors were blocked, according to local news reports. Shoppers described scenes of panicked chaos as they fled the store.
Customer Nikki Tate described to NBC how she hid her young daughter when shooting erupted. “I crawled around to where she was and it was hysteria,” she said. “I didn’t know if this was another mass shooting.”