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LA DA: Redondo Beach Sergeant Acted Lawfully In Fatal Shooting Of Man With Air Pistol

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has found that a Redondo Beach police sergeant was justified in fatally shooting a man with an air pistol in 2018.

Prosecutors determined that police Sgt. John Anderson "reasonably concluded the immediate use of deadly force was necessary" when he fired at 24-year-old Sergio Acosta on July 18, 2018, in the 2500 block of Gates Avenue.

According to the report, Anderson arrived moments after being dispatched for a call about a man firing a gun in broad daylight along a greenbelt frequented by children and families. Upon arrival, Anderson confronted Acosta — who matched the description given by the caller — and saw him holding what appeared to be a firearm.

"Although the weapon was later determined to be an air pistol, Anderson reasonably believed that the weapon was a firearm and reasonably believed he was in danger of suffering great bodily injury or death," the report states. "When Acosta reached across his body, Anderson reasonably concluded the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself against the threat to his life. Therefore, Anderson acted in lawful self-defense when he fired his duty weapon at Acosta."

Acosta suffered four gunshot wounds and died soon after being taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. A forensic analysis of the man's blood showed it contained amphetamine, methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the report.

The District Attorney's Office also found that a Long Beach police officer used reasonable force to try to detain 23-year-old Cesar Antonio Rodriguez during a struggle at the Wardlow Blue Line Station on Aug. 29, 2017.

According to the report, Officer Martin Ron was attempting to detain Rodriguez - who was being taken into custody on suspicion of fare evasion and providing false identification - when an altercation took place and Rodriguez fell onto the tracks, where he was struck and killed by a train.

"As Ron tried to regain control of Rodriguez, Rodriguez continued moving towards the edge of the platform, causing the two men to fall down," the report states. "Several witnesses observed Ron attempting to pull Rodriguez back from the edge of the platform before Rodriguez was struck by the train."

Rodriguez's mother filed a civil lawsuit involving her son's death, but the status of the case was not immediately available.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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