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Young LAPD 'Top Shot' Under Scrutiny After Fatal Shooting

Officer Toni McBride, 23, has been sued by the family of Daniel Hernandez
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
Young LAPD 'Top Shot' Under Scrutiny After Fatal Shooting
A screenshot of LAPD officer Toni McBride.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Another fatal police shooting is getting attention, this one involving the Los Angeles Police Department. It happened on April 22, before the death of George Floyd, but it is now getting renewed interest from the Black Lives Matter movement—in part because of the officer's social media presence prior to the shooting. Coverage:

  • The shooting: LAPD officer Toni McBride, 23, shot and killed Daniel Hernandez, who continued to approach her and ignored her three commands to drop his knife. McBride fired six rounds, all of which hit the 38-year-old, reports the Los Angeles Times. Police had been called to the scene after Hernandez allegedly caused a multiple-vehicle accident. The LAPD released bodycam video of the shooting.
  • The officer: McBride was something of an Instagram star before the shooting, appearing in a slew of videos in which she shows off her shooting skills at Taran Tactical Innovations, a private training center where the likes of Keanu Reeves are known to show up. (Owner Taran Butler helped train actors for the John Wick movies, notes the Appeal.) In fact, this clip shows McBride with Reeves, who references the "Shootin' Newton" nickname of McBride's police division. Butler, meanwhile, tells the Times his specialty is highlighting "beautiful girls who shoot as good as they look."

  • More on her: McBride also earned "top shot" honors in her police academy class, and she appeared in a cover profile of the Blue Press, a firearms ammunition catalog. She's also the daughter of Jamie McBride, described by Los Angeles Magazine as a powerful figure in the LAPD union. That's adding a whole new political wrinkle to the investigation and the district attorney's race, and the magazine digs into that.
  • Lawsuit: Hernandez's teenage daughter has filed a federal civil rights suit, arguing that McBride had "reckless violent and homicidal propensities," reports NBC Los Angeles. Generally, the family feels McBride was too quick to resort to deadly force. The Times talks to an outside expert, however, who defends the officer's actions as a "clear-cut justified shooting." McBride is back on patrol as the investigation unfolds.
  • LAPD: The department says it doesn't monitor officers' activity outside the job, but the lawyer for Hernandez's daughter says that should change. "I don't think a peace officer should be glorifying guns and violence like this," Narine Mkrtchyan tells the Appeal. "The way she rejoices at these shooting ranges—I think it shows a very immature police officer." She adds: "We really think LAPD should discipline her. If it wasn't for her trigger happiness, I don't think this would have happened."
(Read more LAPD stories.)

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