Many church violence incidents stem from domestic violence or relationship problems that spill over into the church. In this incident, it did not appear a church safety or security team was in place. The suspect was able to stab his ex-girlfriend, then waited outside the church until police arrived.
In the video (you may have to login to YouTube), you will see people milling about while the man stands outside the church holding a folding chair and a knife. He had apparently already stabbed one woman. Another woman using a walker doesn’t appear to understand the danger she is in when the police roll up and she is placed behind the suspect and the police. Since nobody was present to move innocent people along, she ended up becoming a hostage.
The incident developed very quickly and the officers were forced to make a deadly force decision.
“Los Angeles police released body camera video Tuesday of a police shooting that killed a man and a woman he was holding at knife-point in Van Nuys at Central Lutheran Church.
Police initially responded to a report of a man who had stabbed his ex-girlfriend June 16 at a church. Officers who arrived at the church in 6400 block of Tyrone Avenue in Van Nuys found the man holding a large serrated knife, police said. As officers got out of their vehicles, the suspect identified as 32-year-old Guillermo Perez, was ordered to drop the knife, police said.
Officers can be heard yelling, “Drop the knife,” in the body camera video.
An officer fired a beanbag shotgun at Perez, who used a folding chair to deflect two rounds. He then grabbed a woman standing next to a nearby building and pushed her in between himself and officers, raising the knife to her neck, police said.
Three officers opened fire, striking the woman and Perez, who both collapsed to the ground.
“Tragically, the woman was also struck twice by gunfire,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore before presenting the graphic video Tuesday.”