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The BBC's Rachel Ellison
"The actor's death could refuel tensions over the LAPD's poor record on race relations"
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Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 09:19 GMT
Prop gun blamed for actor's death
Anthony Dwain Lee
Anthony Dwain Lee was allegedly holding a prop gun when shot
Police have blamed a realistic-looking prop gun for the fatal shooting of an actor at a Hollywood Halloween party last weekend.

Anthony Dwain Lee was shot by police through the window of a Los Angeles Mansion when he raised what looked like a gun, Police chief Bernard Parks said.

We can't take for granted that a gun is a replica

Chief Bernard Parks

Officer Tarriel Hooper fired nine times at the actor who later died of his injuries.

He has been placed on paid leave while the Los Angeles Police Department and District Attorney's office investigate the shooting.

Parks said the officer had "no time" to find out if the weapon was real or to shout a warning.

Parks displayed Lee's prop gun, which he said was made of solid grey rubber in the shape of an Israeli-made Desert Eagle semiautomatic handgun, to the media on Monday.

He said such replicas - often used as movie props - have led to at least seven recent officer-involved shootings.

"Whether it's a Hallowe'en party, on the street or at a robbery... we can't take for granted that (a gun) is a replica," he said.

Candlelit vigil

The officer expressed his department's "deep condolences" to Lee's family.

"It's a tragic event," he said.

Lee appeared in the Jim Carrey movie Liar Liar and had had small parts in TV programmes ER and NYPD.

On Monday night friends and family of the actor held a candlelit vigil outside the West Los Angeles police division where Officer Hopper is stationed.

Lee, 39, was shot in the early hours of Saturday when he allegedly pointed the fake gun at Hopper and his partner who were investigating a neighbour's complaint about a noisy party.

Parks said the two uniformed officers identified themselves to some partygoers at the home and were directed to the rear of the house to find the host.

Instead, they spotted Lee through a window.

There were reports that some of the guests, at what was a costumed party, were dressed as police officers.

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30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Police kill actor at party
17 Aug 00 | Americas
Marchers denounce police actions
26 Jan 00 | Americas
LA police scandal deepens
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