Police shoot, kill knife-wielding woman in Panorama City

Police Sunday identified a woman who was fatally shot by officers in Panorama City while allegedly charging at them with a knife, and released more details about the deadly confrontation.

Officers were called at 12:30 a.m. Saturday to an apartment complex in the 9400 block of Van Nuys Boulevard between Gledhill and Vincennes streets regarding a suspect who was armed with a knife and threatening family members, according to the LAPD.

"According to the comments of the call, the suspect later identified as 23-year-old Joanna Lua, was attempting to assault family members with a knife and blocking the victims' attempts to leave the apartment," the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement Sunday.

Officers staged on the second floor landing outside the apartment's front door and for several minutes tried to "verbalize with the occupants of the apartment to gain entry inside, with negative results," according to the statement.

After a short period of time, officers heard what they believed to be Lua screaming and a loud banging emanating from inside the apartment.

"Officers believed Lua was attempting to gain access to the victim and the officers forced entry into the front door," police said. "Officers encountered Lua advancing toward them, still armed with a knife, officers issued verbal commands to Lua to drop the knife.

"As Lua continued to advance toward the officers, she began to raise the knife in her hand resulting in an Officer-Involved Shooting, simultaneously a TASER was discharged. Lua was struck by gunfire and TASER probes and was taken into custody," the statement continued.

Paramedics from the Los Angeles Fire Department took her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

A black-handled, 10-inch bread knife was recovered at the scene and booked as evidence, police added.

No officers or bystanders were injured.

At least one local civil rights leader questioned the shooting.

"The LAPD slaying of a Panorama City woman demands a fast track investigation and possible charges against the officers involved in the slaying," Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said Saturday.

"The LAPD again repeatedly uses deadly force in dubious situations that may not pose a life and death threat to officers or others. The Panorama City slaying is another possible example of that," Hutchinson added. "(LA County District Attorney George) Gascón must conduct a quick, fast, and thorough investigation in the slaying to determine if this was yet another case of the LAPD overusing deadly force."