Woman’s call for help almost backfires



INCIDENT—Law enforcement was on the scene for eight hours. SYLVIE BELMOND/Acorn Newspapers

INCIDENT—Law enforcement was on the scene for eight hours. SYLVIE BELMOND/Acorn Newspapers

A cry for help by an emotionally troubled 60-year-old Agoura Hills woman led to a deputyinvolved shooting that almost turned deadly last week.

Lisa Melograno admits she’s lucky to be alive following the standoff in the 4000 block of Yankee Drive.

Melograno, who is being evicted from her townhome in the Liberty Canyon neighborhood, placed a call to 911 on the afternoon of Fri., May 4. It was not a suicide threat, she said, but an attempt to reach out and discuss her problems with a social service representative.

“Unfortunately I told them I had this pellet gun in my car, which they assumed was a real gun,” Melograno told The Acorn.

Deputies arrived on the scene shortly after 2:30 p.m. last Friday and told the woman to get out of her BMW automobile.

“I put my hands in the air and thought this is really getting out of control,” Melograno said. “That’s when I turned around because I wanted to get my cellphone (from my car).”

It was the wrong move, as in the very next instant a shot was fired.

“I got to the front of my car and that’s when something (felt like it ) hit my head,” Melograno said. “I went down so hard. I really thought they had shot me.”

The Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station issued a statement acknowledging that a deputy had fired, but offered no further details due to an ongoing investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

“At some point there was a deputy-involved shooting,” said Lt. Randy Tuinstra of the Lost Hills station.

Melograno said, “I can’t imagine why they would fire a bullet at me because if it missed it would go all the way up the street. . . . I think one of the reasons why the detectives showed up quickly is because they knew something went wrong here, because I was not arrested for anything. I was upset and I was just trying to talk to somebody.”

The sheriff said the woman was not struck by a bullet, but was taken to a hospital for observation. No other injuries were reported.

Deputies kept Yankee Drive blocked for more than eight hours while they investigated.

Melograno was released from Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar following a 72-hour psychiatric hold. A social worker drove her back to her car at Liberty Canyon.

“It was a complete disaster,” Melograno said. “It was my mistake, I understand that.”

She has lived in her Liberty Canyon condo for four years and said she is trying to contact a relative in San Diego for assistance.

Melograno had two dogs in her car at the time of the incident. They were impounded by the sheriff, but she was able to get them back a few days later with the help of donations from the community.

Sylvie Belmond contributed to this story.