Horror in LA could be repeated anywhere

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

What horror have we come to when a father uses his own child as a human shield and causes the loss of both lives? This very scene took place in Los Angeles on Sunday night as police with the Los Angeles Police Department were forced to gun down a father and his 17-month old daughter, ending an hours-long standoff after the wounding of one officer. The father, identified as Jose Raul Lemos, held his daughter in front of him as he continuously fired upon police, becoming a threat not only to the patrolman in the line of fire but other innocent civilians as well. After showing a considerable amount of restraint, police fired upon Lemos, killing both him and his child.

"The officers are taking it very hard," LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell told the Associate Press. "Anytime you have a baby killed, it takes its toll."

Understandable. Many of the officers were family men themselves. They will be dealing with this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

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Some may call their actions unwarranted, but when a half-stoned, half-drunk gun-wielding man is firing upon both you and your fellow patrolmen, what else can you do? The circumstances - with bullets flying and one officer already wounded - dictated the use of deadly force. Lemos despicably used his daughter as a shield.

Something like this 'couldn't happen here', people may say. But it is unfortunate that we have come to a point in this world where scenes such as this could happen anywhere, even in Alabama and Crenshaw County.