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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / LAPD SWAT officer under investigation for saying ‘happy hunting’ before shooting

LAPD SWAT officer under investigation for saying ‘happy hunting’ before shooting

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Police Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday that a SWAT officer saying “happy hunting” before two other officers fatally shot a barricaded suspect earlier this month “does not constitute a crime,” but the department is conducting an internal investigation.

Moore said the remark “constitutes an inappropriate comment or inappropriate remark, which is an administrative count of misconduct.”

The incident is being investigated by the department’s internal affairs, which will review the officer’s background within the SWAT unit, prior uses of force and performance.

The LAPD’s SWAT Team was responding to an armed suspect barricaded in an apartment building in the 100 block of West Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles on May 3.

Two SWAT officers opened fire, killing the suspect, whom the Los Angeles Times identified as 54-year-old Leron James. Police told The Times that James fired a round at officers and officers returned fire.

An LAPD Metropolitan Division commanding officer was reviewing bod- worn camera footage from the incident when he discovered an officer, who did not fire at James, telling other officers “happy hunting” before the shots rang out.

Moore told The Times the comment was made in the initial stages of the SWAT team responding to the scene, while officers were in the back end of a rescue vehicle.

Moore told the commission Tuesday the officer was immediately removed from the field after the remark was discovered, and police initiated a misconduct investigation.

“SWAT has my highest level of confidence, as well as my highest expectations of any tactical unit in the department. Reverence for human life remains our guiding principle in our use of force policy and our words and deeds must always represent that reverence,” Moore said.

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