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Tornadoes, severe flooding hit Oklahoma City area, injuries reported

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A series of tornadoes, including a major twister, touched down southwest of Oklahoma City on Wednesday, injuring several residents of a trailer park, causing severe flooding and the escape of bears from a wildlife park, officials said.

No deaths were reported, but some residents of a south Oklahoma City trailer park were injured during the storm and treated at local hospitals, said Dee Patty, a police spokeswoman.

The Oklahoman newspaper reported 12 people were hurt in the incident, though there was no word on their specific injuries.

"I think we got lucky," Patty said. "We've seen a lot worse come through these same areas."

Patty also said two people were hurt during a weather-related road accident. The newspaper reported a third was injured when entering a storm shelter and a fourth person was hurt by flying debris and treated at hospital.

Bears briefly escaped from enclosures at an animal park after a tornado struck the city of Tuttle, about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Oklahoma City, the Grady County Sheriff's Office said. Officials earlier said tigers had escaped.

A storm system brought severe weather to several Great Plains states, and the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for an area stretching from central Texas to central Nebraska. There had been about two dozen tornadoes reported in the area.

Earlier in the day, passengers, visitors and employees at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were evacuated to a pedestrian tunnel for about 30 minutes as the storms moved through the area, the airport said. All flights were canceled through the evening.

The tornadoes flipped cars, downed power lines and snapped trees. Several roads were closed because of debris, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for downtown Oklahoma City amid storms and heavy rain in the broader area. It said the airport received 6.9 ins (17.5 cm) of rain for the day.

Severe flooding was reported in the downtown Oklahoma City business district and South Oklahoma City, where local media reported a possible drowning victim after a flash flood.

Grady County officials said 10 homes in the nearby town of Amber were damaged along with 25 homes in Bridge Creek. South Oklahoma City

reported a hotel along Interstate 35 was among other structures damaged.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said more than 10,000 homes and businesses were without power statewide.

(Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham, Peter Cooney and Alex Richardson)

Los Angeles police chief says homeless man's slaying may not have been justified

(Reuters) - Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said on Wednesday he had not seen evidence to justify the shooting death of an unarmed man by police officers during an altercation in the Venice Beach area.

Two police officers, responding late on Tuesday to emergency calls of a person "harassing customers" in an area near the neighborhood's boardwalk, attempted to detain a man who was shot during the altercation, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper, citing friends, said the victim was a homeless man in his 20s nicknamed "Dizzle".

"Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances," Beck told a news conference on Wednesday.

Beck added that the investigation was ongoing.

The incident follows the slaying of another homeless man by Los Angeles police in March after police said he grabbed for an officer's holstered gun during a scuffle as police sought to arrest him on suspicion of robbery.

It also joins a series of incidents that have put law enforcement agencies across the United States under scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against minorities, the poor and the mentally ill.

In Tuesday night's incident, the suspect was pronounced dead at hospital. One of the officers was treated for an injured knee.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper reported the shooting was among three incidents over about eight hours in which police fired their weapons.

The officers had not been wearing body cameras and there was no dashboard camera that captured the incident, the newspaper reported. But the incident was recorded by a security camera on a nearby building, the paper said.

Beck said police would host a town hall-style meeting in Venice on Thursday, the Times said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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