Suspect shot by police has many prior convictions

Suspect shot by police has many prior convictions


A man shot by a Torrance police officer in a scuffle for the lawman’s gun has a long criminal record, including a previous conviction for assault on a police officer, records show.

Police identified the assailant as Donald Lajon Lawrence, 40, who was taken from County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and booked Tuesday at the Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles.

Details of his previous crimes were not available, but Department of Corrections records showed Lawrence has been in and out of prison since 1981, when he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and armed robbery. He received a five-year, four- month sentence but was released on parole in 1984.

In 1989, Lawrence received an 11-year sentence following convictions for voluntary manslaughter and assault with a caustic chemical.

He was released on parole in 1996, but returned to prison in 2000 on an apparent violation. He was released a year later, but again returned to prison in 2003. He was released in December.

A Torrance police motorcycle officer chased Lawrence on Sunday when the man drove through a controlled intersection following the Wilson Park fireworks show, police said.

Lawrence allegedly struck a car during the chase, crashed through a security gate at the Village Walk neighborhood, and ran.

The unidentified police officer grabbed Lawrence as he climbed a fence, triggering a struggle. Lawrence threatened to kill the officer and tried to wrestle his gun from him, police said.

The officer fired and shot Lawrence in the arm.

Lawrence was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest.

Lawrence also was arrested May 2 by officers in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Wilshire Division, according to county jail records. He was charged with altering his registration and license plate, records show.

Copyright Copley Press Inc. 2004

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