Off the Hinges
Chief says department will cover damage to church property during mass shooting
By André Coleman 07/31/2014
A local church has filed a claim for damages against the Pasadena Police Department for damages sustained to church property during a recent homicide investigation.
According to documents filed with the City Clerk’s Office, police officers damaged the screen door and door frame while conducting a homicide investigation on July 12 after a mass shooting incident on Summit Avenue. The empty property is owned by First African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, located in the 1400 block of Raymond Avenue, one city block west of Summit Avenue.
The church is asking for $80 to fix the security door, $50 to repair the wooden door frame and $50 for the labor, according to the claim.
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez told the Pasadena Weekly the department would pay for the damages.
“The officers were conducting a search and rescue operation related to the active shooter and defeated the front door. We will absolutely make good on it,” Sanchez said.
Photos filed with the claim show a screen door torn from its frame and a security door bent off its hinges.
The officers conducted the investigation after discovering several bullet holes on the side of the house.
In the incident, police say that John Izael Smith, 44, began firing a semi-automatic rifle shortly before 4:30 p.m. after a dispute with his landlord.
Maria Teresa Aguiar, 59, Luis Fernando, 92, and Joseph Uribe, 31, a Good Samaritan who ran toward the gunfire in an effort to help, were killed by the gunfire. Three people suffered non-life-threatening wounds in the incident.
A Pasadena police officer arriving on the scene attempted to help Aguiar but was pinned down by gunfire. The shooting ended after Smith called Pasadena police dispatchers, who were able to convince him to surrender to officers.
Smith was charged with three counts of murder with the special circumstance of multiple murders and the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a rifle.
He also was charged with three counts of attempted murder, including the attempted murder of a police officer.