Security Guard Shoots 88-Year-Old Los Angeles Woman in Her Home After She Shines a Flashlight

An armed private security guard was arrested after shooting an 88-year-old woman in her own Encino home after he mistook her for a burglar on New Year’s Eve, according to officials and the guard’s attorney.

Details of the incident were not immediately released by the Los Angeles Police Department or the guard’s employer, ACS Security, a Los Angeles-based private armed response security company.

Police said the woman was shot in the torso at her home on Encino Avenue around 8:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve by an ACS security guard who was responding to a burglar alarm. ACS confirmed that the guard was patrolling alone. The woman was taken to a hospital in stable condition.

The private security guard was detained by police on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm, although he has not yet been charged by the district attorney. Los Angeles police did not immediately release the suspect’s name. ACS Security declined to provide the guard’s name.

“On December 31, 2023, one of our clients in the Los Angeles area was shot. This occurred after one of our employees went to the client’s home. Our hearts go out to the client and the client’s family. “We have launched an investigation into this matter and are cooperating with law enforcement authorities,” the company said in a statement.

The company did not immediately respond to questions about whether there was a trespasser on the property.

Jacqueline Sparagna, the suspect’s attorney, said the security guard believed the woman was an intruder when he shot her.

The security guard believed he was alone in the house and that the property owner was not present when he responded to the alarm, Sparagna said. When he saw someone pointing a flashlight at him, he believed he was an armed robber and shot the person, according to the attorney.

Sparagna said the guard was outside the house and the woman inside when the shooting occurred, and that he shot her through a window.

“He didn’t have a clear vision,” he said. “It was definitely dark, he saw the flashlight and thought he was a thief and that the other person had a gun.”

After shooting him, the security guard, who Sparagna said has no criminal record and has worked in private security for more than a decade, ran to his car and called for backup, according to Sparagna.

“It was a total accident,” he said.

Sparagna said his client had not yet been charged and he was hopeful the district attorney would not file charges against him.

The shooting occurred in an exclusive neighborhood of Encino, in the San Fernando Valley. Almost all the houses on the block are protected by large steel or wooden doors.

The house where the shooting occurred is one of the few in the area that does not have a gate; An ACS safety sign is displayed in the front yard. Many other neighbors also have armed security signs.

Despite the shooting, some residents said they would continue paying for private security patrolling the streets.

“I think the fact that the area is expected to be patrolled makes it a little better,” said a nearby resident who identified himself as Norman and declined to give his last name. “We constantly hear about robberies.”

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