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'Friendly fire' death denied in L.A. standoff

SANTA CLARITA, California (CNN) -- Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators Monday denied reports that a deputy killed in a shootout last week fell victim to another officer's shot.

Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian was killed Friday morning as a man suspected of federal weapons violations opened fire on agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local authorities. The suspect, James Beck, died in a fire that engulfed his house about three hours later.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that the investigation in the incident raised questions about whether Beck fired the fatal shot or whether Kuredjian accidentally was killed by a fellow law enforcement officer. And The Associated Press quoted a sheriff's investigator as saying "it's not clear" that Beck shot Kuredjian.

But Lt. Carl Deeley, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's department, said the shot that killed Kuredjian could not have come from fellow law enforcement officers.

Body could be suspected L.A. sniper  (September 1)

"The homicide bureau has stated that the trajectory of the bullet and the wound, where it was, proved that the bullet came from the second floor of the house, fired by suspect James Beck," Deeley said. In addition, he said, Beck apologized for shooting Kuredjian when negotiators were trying to get him to surrender before the fire began Friday.

"There isn't even a remote chance that friendly fire was the cause of death of Deputy Jake Kuredjian," Deeley said.

James Allen Beck  

Earlier, a Sheriff's Department statement called the reports "an unfortunate piece of prevarication that smacks of tabloid journalism."

The shooting began Friday when federal agents tried to serve Beck with a search warrant. The fire that killed him began after tear gas was fired into his house following the standoff.

• Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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