Ward Came to Police Station to Die
Culver City Police Chief Don Pedersen
By Stephen Hadland
It has become painfully obvious that David James Ward showed up at the Culver City Police Department headquarters early Saturday morning two weeks ago to end his life.
No note was found and Sheriff Department investigators have yet to uncover any reason except that the City of Los Angeles was forcing him out of his makeshift home in his van where he had lived for decades just outside Culver City.
Culver City Police Chief Don Pedersen remarked, "It is our belief, based on the evidence, that Mr. Ward was homeless and had been living in his van in the City of Los Angeles."
"Suicide by Police Officer" is not a term you will hear from any of the investigators, but that appears to be the bottom line when Ward entered the parking lot at the police headquarters and raised a gun pointing it at Culver City Police Officers.
Pedersen commented, "It is unlikely that we will ever know exactly what Mr. Ward was thinking when he entered the parking lot on September 21st."
" I believe that it was a tragic event for all involved. The Culver City Police Department has no record of any contact with Mr. Ward prior to the day when he entered our secured parking lot armed with a handgun. At that time he approached our officers and said that he had a gun. He then produced the weapon and refused orders to drop it. He then pointed the gun at the officers at which time an Officer Involved Shooting occurred. "
Officers, fearing for their own lives, opened fire and struck Ward once. He died at a local hospital.
Backing up the actions of the officers Pedersen stated, "Based on my preliminary review of the incident the officers were given no choice on that morning. Police work is a very difficult profession where officers deal with rapidly evolving, tense and uncertain situations on a daily basis."
As is the policy of the Culver City Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation. Following department protocol the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Rollout Team responded to the scene.
While many might regard Ward as the victim for being forced from his roadside home, there is no doubt the two Culver City Police officers who had to discharge their weapons, were protecting their lives.
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