Newly released body camera footage from the Los Angeles Police Department shows the terrifying moment when gang member Richard Mendoza, 32, opened fire on an unnamed female LAPD officer during a July traffic stop in the San Fernando Valley.
The female officer survived the attack, and her partner, Officer Miguel Alarcon, shot and killed Mendoza. The LAPD has yet to release the name of the female officer who was attacked by Mendoza, due to having confidentiality protection as the victim of a violent crime.
Warning: The Video Contains Content Some Viewers Might Find Upsetting
In the video, the female officer approaches Mendoza’s vehicle, a silver Nissan Altima, from the driver’s side and begins to speak with him. She appears to have encountered him before and knows that he is on probation. After a few moments, she asks Mendoza to step out of the car. Mendoza opens the door, steps out, and immediately opens fire.
Alarcon, who is on the passenger side of the Altima, then returned fire on Mendoza, striking him in the head and torso. Alarcon then handcuffed Mendoza to control his hands, for the officers’ safety.
Mendoza hit the female officer with one shot in the left leg. The bullet shattered the officer’s femur. The female officer was treated on the scene by paramedics before being transferred to a nearby hospital. Mendoza was transported to the hospital but died of his wounds at a later date.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times that Alarcon’s quick actions saved both officers’ lives, and that “By the Grace of God” the female officer was not killed.
The LAPD released in accordance with a new policy that requires body camera footage to be made available to the public within 45 days of a police shooting.