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Police officer shoots, kills knife-wielding man

June 07, 2006|By Chris Wiebe

SOUTH SAN FERNANDO DISTRICT ? A Burbank police officer, shooting through his patrol-car's window, killed a 42-year-old man who was charging at him while wielding a kitchen knife on Sunday.

James Weyenberg allegedly ran at the officer who was responding to a domestic disturbance cost in the 1600 block of West Victory Boulevard, Burbank Police Sgt. Jay Jette said.

Police responded after Burbank police dispatch received a call saying that the knife-wielding man was threatening and physically abusing his wife, Jette said. When the officer arrived at the scene, Weyenberg allegedly rushed toward the officer's car with a knife in his hand. Still seated in the car, the officer drew his .40 caliber service pistol in an attempt to ward off the attack, discharging a single shot into Weyenberg's upper torso, Jette said.

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Weyenberg's neighbors described a chaotic scene leading up to the shooting. Kathy Perry, who lives about 100 feet from where the incident occurred, came out of her home after hearing Weyenberg's wife, Dora, screaming in a panic. Perry walked outside to see Weyenberg brandishing a knife and chasing another neighbor around a parked car, she said.

When the police car arrived, Weyenberg allegedly charged the driver's side window and the officer fired the fatal shot, Jette said.

Weyenberg was pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m. at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, hospital spokesman Dan Boyle said.

The name of the officer will not be released pending an investigation. An investigation takes place when ever there is an officer-involved shooting.

The Police Department will now conduct an "extremely thorough and complete investigation" into the incident, Jette said. The investigation will involve delving into the histories of all persons involved and taking statements from witnesses, he said.

"We will pursue all avenues of any potential information which can assist us in determining what happened and the reasons it happened," Jette said.

The officer involved will remain off duty for a minimum of three days, while his condition is evaluated.

But some of Weyenberg's neighbors question the officer's judgment in opening fire as early as he did.

"If you stop to think about it, that police officer could have easily vacated his car, drew his revolver and ordered [Weyenberg] to stop," said neighbor Gary Schmidt. "I just don't think a gun should have been pulled."

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