Special Response Team Deployed for Man Shielding Himself with Baby During Police Standoff
Photo: Navarro in his car (ABC7)
COVINA – Police worked a barricade situation at Covina’s Wingate Park on November 26th with a father holding his baby and also wielding a knife as he sat in his car. Later identified as Daniel Navarro, (22) of Covina, the parolee had been arguing with his girlfriend in the car, and threatened her with a knife. The woman exited the car and notified Covina PD for assistance, leaving the baby with Navarro.
When police arrived, the suspect was making threats to hurt himself and holding the baby while still brandishing a knife.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Mental Evaluation Team (MET) was called. During the Crime Voice interview, Lieutenant John Gannon, who commands the MET units, said it’s “the SWAT Team of mental health.”
During the 7-plus hour standoff, the MET, comprised of 24/7 on-call specially trained officers, joined the front line. Lt. Gannon explained, “Our goal is to differentiate drug use from mental illness, recognize disorders and focus on de-escalation without weapons.”
Lt. Gannon described the crisis intervention during this standoff – “4 LASD deputies-in training with 2 tenured MET members stepped in, along with 2 clinicians and a supervisor from the Department of Mental Health. The advantage of the co-response model is 2 partners working together. Danger is (an) imminent… tactical problem, ” added Gannon. “That man was a loving father. Family members said that he had a possible undiagnosed illness, and had used drugs.”
It was also noted that there were at least two phones ringing in the car. This confused the subject, who was on the verge of exiting the car during the peaceful negotiations, then pulled the baby back. This occurred three times. Officers saw a sudden behavioral change each time.
As Navarro began to exit the car for the final time, video shows his one hand with a possibly-concealed weapon while his other hand is placing the baby’s carrier on the ground. Officers had to make a snap decision, and their attempt at retrieving the baby led to an officer-involved shooting.
During the ensuing action, Navarro did not survive. The baby safely survived the ordeal and the investigation is ongoing.