In the moment, Officer Adrian Bonilla said he was flooded with thoughts of his family.
Making sure he can go home one more time to see his wife and two children. The focus, he added, was on the fight for survival.
“So, when the initial incident happened and the gunfire — I mean, in that split-second, I see my family, the will to want to make it home to them. And the will to survive. I mean, a lot of it is mindset, and I know that my mindset was in the right place,” he added, “and I knew that I needed to find my way out of this situation.”
The City Council on Tuesday honored the Santa Clarita resident and Los Angeles Police Department officer who was wounded in a fatal shootout with a suspect in Downtown Los Angeles last month.
Bonilla, a K-9 officer in the Metropolitan Division, was working as part of a surveillance team with LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division and looking for a parolee-at-large when a K-9 alerted officers to the presence of 32-year-old Jonathan Magana.
Narcotics Enforcement Detail officers were searching for Magana because he was a suspect in an “Investigative Report for Extortion” out of the team’s area, according to LAPD officials in a news release that provided the police’s preliminary narrative of the shooting.
Magana was found in the 3800 block of North Broadway Street, where he was hiding in a converted living space downstairs of a multi-unit building that was under construction, according to an LAPD news release.
“The officers made several verbal announcements in both English and Spanish for Magana to surrender,” according to a statement from the LAPD. “Magana failed to surrender, which resulted in the deployment of a chemical agent. During the deployment of the chemical agent, Magana fired at officers, resulting in an officer-involved shooting.”
What came next was second-nature, Bonilla said, the result of years of training. He acknowledged that he’d been in dangerous situations before, but nothing like the shootout in March that left him with a through-and-through gunshot wound that entered his upper shoulder, went through his arm and exited his back, leaving him with “radial nerve issues.”
“We do train for scenarios like this, but I mean, we don’t practice with gunfire, we don’t shoot at each other and practice that way,” he said.
“But I mean, I feel like all the things that … I’ve done throughout my career to set myself up for a possible situation like this paid off,” in the dangerous scenario, he said, calling his reactions part of his “muscle memory.”
Three officers, including Bonilla, were struck by gunfire, according to LAPD officials’ report of the incident.
“Even after being shot, all three officers returned fire in a fierce shootout, which eventually took out the suspect,” Mayor Jason Gibbs said in a statement read from the dais Tuesday. “All three officers were quickly extricated from the building by fellow officers and rushed to the hospital to be treated for their wounds.”
LAPD officers then deployed a robotic device often used to detect bombs or hazardous materials, which indicated to officers that Magana had been rendered unconscious as the result of injuries he sustained in the shooting. Medical personnel treated Magana for his injuries, but he was declared dead at the scene.
All three officers, including Bonilla, were treated for their injuries and released from the hospital, Gibbs added.
“Each day, law enforcement officers across the nation, county, and in our city, put their lives on the line to protect and defend their communities, and Officer Bonilla is a prime example of this,” said Gibbs. He added praise for Bonilla, a Panorama City native, who followed his dream to become an LAPD officer in 2008 and then moved to Santa Clarita two years later.
“On behalf of the City Council, I would like to thank Officer Bonilla for his act of heroism,” Gibbs said, “and give him our utmost support.”
Bonilla, who’s expected to make a full recovery along with the other two officers who were wounded in the incident, left Tuesday’s council meeting grateful and humbled by the experience, he said.
“You know, it does tug at my heartstrings to be recognized for something like that, but I don’t expect it at all,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I mean, it’s my job and it’s what I, you know, chose to do. And so … to be recognized. … It’s something that I will never forget. I don’t think my kids will ever forget. I mean (it’s) amazing that I guess we can live in a city like this that does things like that.”