Prosecutors have decided that a Long Beach police officer was justified when he shot a man who was holding a sharp object against the neck of a woman he was holding hostage in Central Long Beach last year.
The man, Cleveland Henderson, survived the single rifle shot to the face by Long Beach Police Officer Edmund Moscoso on August 6, 2017. In a letter released Wednesday, the Justice System Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said it determined Moscoso “acted in the lawful defense of another when he used deadly force against Henderson.”
On that day in August, police responded to a 911 call about a stabbing at Washington Place and Ninth Street shortly before 11 p.m.
A woman, identified as Jaime G. in the DA’s report, said Henderson had stabbed her in the in the head, shoulder, forearm and hand and that he still had another woman in a small one-bedroom house nearby.
Jaime G. stated that she was sleeping on a couch in the house and woke up to Henderson strangling Susan W. Henderson and Jaime G. then got into an argument and he stabbed her several times, the report said.
Through the window of the house, officers could see Henderson holding, Susan W., with his arm around her neck and her back to his chest holding what appeared to be a knife to her throat. A statement from Susan W. later revealed it was a piece of broken mirror.
A negotiating team used a PA system to tell Henderson to “drop the knife and surrender,” but he refused, according to the report.
“While LBPD was trying to negotiate with Henderson, Susan W. was screaming for help,” the DA’s letter said. “Henderson stated several times that he was not coming out and yelled, ‘You’re going to have to kill me!'”
He also yelled, “If I die, she dies!” and “She’s the Bonnie to my Clyde.”
Moscoso, positioned behind a parked car with his rifle resting on the hood, was watching all of this through the open front door.
“Moscoso believed that Henderson was going to kill Susan W.,” the report said. According to Susan W.’s statement, she also believed Henderson was going to kill her.
While Henderson kept his left cheek pressed against Susan W.’s right cheek for most of the encounter, he momentarily created space between his head and her head and Moscoso fired his rifle once at Henderson’s head, according to the DA’s letter.
Henderson survived his wounds and was charged with attempted murder, false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon, the report said.
Another victim, a man named John C., said he was also held hostage for several hours and punched in the face and kicked in the head by Henderson. He was able to escape after police arrived, the report said.
Both women said that they had taken methamphetamine with Henderson earlier in the day, according to the report.