Ilda Ebe Grasso, 52

Alhambra, California
June 10, 2008

Agencies: California Highway Patrol - Sacramento | Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department California LASD

Cause of death: Shooting

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Last updated: almost 4 years ago


Ilda Ebe Grasso, 52, a Latina woman, was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting at Hellman and Garfield avenues in Alhambra about 11:10 p.m. Tuesday, June 10. Grasso was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, officers from the California Highway Patrol were heading east on the 10 Freeway when they saw Grasso speeding. The officers followed her and initiated a traffic stop. Grasso exited the freeway and pulled over in her red BMW. An officer who approached the car saw Grasso brandishing what authorities later said was a replica handgun. Fearing for his life, the officer shot Grasso in the chest.

The officer who fired told investigators he feared for his safety, but the attorney representing the victim's family questions the officer's account, calling the shooting an "execution."

Family members say Ilda Grasso had everything to live for, and say they can't believe the mother of two and grandmother of five would have had a replica gun in her possession, much less pointed it at police.

"It's very difficult, and we still don't know how to explain to our kids why grandma's no longer with us," said Marcelo Grass, Ilda's son.

The 52-year-old was shot and killed by a CHP officer last week in Alhambra for allegedly waving a toy gun at authorities.

"This replica is virtually indistinguishable from a regular firearm," said Lt. David Dolson, L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. "It shares all the same characteristics of a regular-looking deadly gun."

Grasso's family says the officer's account doesn't add up. They are filing a federal lawsuit against the CHP.

"It's physically and forensically impossible for her to have had a fake or toy gun in her hand at the time that that bullet pierces her heart through the seatbelt harness. It's not possible," said Brian Claypool, Grasso family attorney.

Claypool said Grasso was shot as she was leaning over in her car reaching for her identification, not for the gun, as police claim.

"We don't believe that she had this toy gun in her car at the time," said Claypool. "If the police officers truly found a toy gun in the car, it probably came from one of her grandkids."

The Grasso family is seeking $15 million in damages. They say financial recourse is the only way to ensure the CHP is held accountable.

Grasso was stopped for speeding. Officer thought he “saw a gun,” and shot her.

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