Wednesday, July 12, 2017

By Staff Reports

A murder suspect who allegedly shot and wounded a Los Angeles Police Department officer at the end of a pursuit that stretched from South Los Angeles to the Hawthorne-El Segundo border has been charged with 19 felony counts, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

Qasim Knox—who was injured in the June 29 gunfight with police—is charged along with three other men with one count of murder for the March 31 killing of Whitney Henry Yorke.

Knox, 25, is also charged with five counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, four counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, two counts of unlawful possession of ammunition and one count each of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and shooting at an occupied motor vehicle.

Two of the attempted murder and assault charges name two Los Angeles police officers as the victims, while three others name Hawthorne police officers as the victims. Some of those counts include an allegation that the crime was committed "for the benefit of, at the direction of and in association with a criminal street gang."

The criminal complaint also alleges that Knox has a 2014 conviction for robbery.

He could appear in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom as early as Friday for arraignment.

The officer wounded in the gunfight, a 20-plus-year LAPD veteran assigned to the SWAT unit, was shot in a hip and is expected to recover, Chief Charlie Beck said last week.

The suspect streamed the incident on Facebook Live and the video, which has been taken down, is now part of the investigation, according to LAPD Officer Sal Ramirez.

Los Angeles police were serving warrants shortly before 10 a.m. June 29 near 117th Street and Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles, seeking four suspects wanted in connection with the March 31 homicide, which Beck said was gang-related.

While trying to serve the warrants, the officers spotted one of the suspects driving off in a blue car, prompting a chase that ended near El Segundo and Aviation boulevards.

"That pursuit led to this location where the individual who was wanted for the murder that occurred in Southwest area fled from his vehicle armed with a handgun," Beck said at the scene.

"A gunfight ensued between the individual and the pursuing officers, resulting in one of our SWAT officers being shot in the hip, and the individual who was wanted for murder ... (sustaining) multiple gunshot wounds."

Beck described the confrontation as a rolling gun battle, with "three independent shooting" sites.

The wounded officer was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was joined by his wife, who is also an LAPD officer. Beck also visited the officer at the hospital.

On the video of the incident, the suspect is seen holding a handgun and he later says, "They're about to kill me ... they got me," before the video ends, according to ABC7.