Brazen Burglar Bungles Break-in

Home owner and neighbor talk with police while intruder shoots
up house.

brazenburglar1A resident was inside her home on Monday when a man broke into her house on the 11300 block of Alethea. After a drawn out gun battle, the intruder was shot and killed by LAPD SWAT officers.

The intruder, who may have lived in a homeless camp down the hill from Rim Canyon, had broken into the occupied house while the resident was sleeping. He confronted her but she escaped and called 911.

During the standoff, the resident and her neighbor were interviewed by LAPD detectives. The neighbor, Rosie Johnson, was also interviewed by a CBS-2 video crew during which she related the incident as told to her.

“She [the homeowner] told me that she had awoken by hearing something, like a muffled sound,” Johnson said. “And she went out and she saw this man in her house. And he mumbled something at her about cookies, and of course, it scared the life out of her because she had just woke up. And she went back into her bedroom, but the door did not have a lock. So she then escaped out of one of the back windows.” The stand-off lasted for more than six hours and had multiple exchanges of gunfire.

The Paper first learned about the stand-off when residents on Mt. Gleason started calling into the office at about 9:15 a.m.; we were on scene by 9:35. More than 20 police vehicles lined the road and two helicopters flew circles overhead. The LAPD had responded to a “hot prowler” call from the house on the 11300 block of Alethea Drive just before 9 a.m., according to Officer Aareon Jefferson of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section.

When the LAPD arrived, they used a bullhorn to tell the intruder to “Come out with your hands up!” He refused to come out. The resident told the LAPD that there were many guns in the house, prompting the officers to call for a SWAT backup.

Police tried for several hours to get the suspect to surrender while a steady stream of LAPD officers, detectives and armored vehicles arrived on scene. There were so many vehicles coming up Alethea that the onelane road was backed up all the way down to Mt. Gleason. By 3 p.m., more than 70 police vehicles and 90 LAPD officers were on scene.

With officers watching and news helicopters overhead, the intruder stepped outside and fired a gun several times at the officers, with at least one officer returning fire. The barricade lasted another four hours with more and more police and fire vehicles staging at Rim Canyon. One irate homeowner whose drive was blocked by vehicles, came out and demanded that the LAPD and others “get off of his property.” All the vehicles were peacefully moved.

As the tactical clocked ticked, the suspect would come outside, fire a weapon and return inside. LAPD officers and SWAT threw smoke grenades towards the house to disorient him, and then resorted to shooting tear gas grenades into the house causing the LAFD to go on alert for the possibility of the house catching fire.

Around 3 p.m., the suspect was seen coming out of the cloud of smoke at the rear of the house and was shot by a SWAT officer on the roof. His body rolled down the hill about 75 feet and laid motionless until a K-9 team approached him.

He was handcuffed and reported deceased at about 3:15 p.m., six hours after the incident began. Non-essential personnel were released and police vehicles from as far away as Burbank began their trip home.

The coroner had not yet released the man’s name and as of 7:30 p.m., parts of Mt. Gleason and Oro Vista to Alpine Village was closed as the investigation continued.

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