LAPD body, dashcam, surveillance video shows chase; shooting involving knife-wielding man in Calabasas
Footage released on Friday shows the terror that unfolded in the streets of Woodland Hills and Calabasas when a homeless man first attacked someone with a machete and then ran into a popular restaurant where he was fatally shot by police.
The incident took place on Nov. 1 when 911 dispatchers received a call from a man who said he had been attacked by another man with a machete at the McDonald’s at Mulholland Drive near the 101 Freeway.
“I was able to get away from him, and then he kept attacking me,” the victim told the 911 dispatcher.
“We need to get in control of these homeless people,” he added. The man said he was not seriously hurt and did not require a paramedic.
His attacker, later identified as Benjamin Pritchard, 35, had dropped the machete and was wandering through the parking lot of the busy shopping center when police arrived.
Dash camera video released by the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday shows officers first trying to stop Pritchard near the McDonald’s, and then near the southbound 101 Freeway on ramp at Mulholland Drive/Valley Circle Boulevard.
When they approach him at the ramp, Pritchard charges at the police SUV with a knife and hits the vehicle before running away, the video shows.
Pritchard then runs along traffic on Calabasas Road next to the Motion Picture & Television Fund complex and eventually into the parking lot of the Sagebrush Cantina, a popular restaurant and music venue in Old Town Calabasas.
“Everyone, get inside the restaurant and lock the doors! This is the LAPD! Lock the doors!” an officer shouts through the SUV’s PA system.
Security cameras and police body-worn cameras captured the violent end to the ordeal.
Pritchard first emerges with a bottle and a knife, at which point an officer who is chasing him on foot fires his Taser, which had little or no effect, the video shows.
“Drop the knife!” officers yell repeatedly.
Another camera angle shows Pritchard running into a patio dining area as a restaurant patron or employee flees to the back.
Officers then opened fire with their service weapons, striking Pritchard, who fell to the ground. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital. No officers or witnesses were injured.
Police say Pritchard was from San Diego County. While the toxicology report has not been released, officers believed he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.