Lawmakers want state investigation after teen fatally shot by LA deputy during chase
Two Democratic lawmakers called Sunday for California's attorney general to investigate the fatal shooting of a young man by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy during a foot chase. Representatives Maxine Waters and Nanette Diaz Barragán said in a statement there's a need for an independent investigation into the death of 18-year-old Andres Guardado so the public will trust the findings.
"Another day, and another Black or Brown kid has been shot in the back by police," said the representatives for Southern California districts. "These killings must stop. We demand it. The American people demand it."
Autopsy results have not yet been released. Messages seeking comment were sent to the state Attorney General's office and the Los Angeles County sheriff's department.
Guardado was shot Thursday after Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said they spotted him with a gun in front of an auto body shop near Gardena. The Los Angeles Times reports Guardado was speaking with someone in a car that was blocking the location when deputies pulled up. The deputies saw that Guardado had a gun, and Guardado fled, said Captain Kent Wegener, the head of the department's Homicide Bureau. Two deputies chased him on foot and one of them opened fire, reportedly striking Guardado in the upper torso six times.
Investigators do not believe Guardado fired his gun, Wegener said. Authorities said they did not know whether Guardado had pointed his gun at the deputy, according to the paper.
Wegener said Saturday that investigators have taken six or seven exterior cameras from the scene and are examining the footage. He said the gun the teen was carrying appeared to have been pieced together from different parts and didn't have a serial number.
Guardado's family said the teen was working as a security guard at the auto body shop, reports CBS Los Angeles. But the sheriff's department says he wasn't licensed to do so through the state, which requires security guards to be at least 21.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the shooting underscores why the department needs to get body cameras for all of its uniformed deputies as soon as possible. The department is currently soliciting bids for a company to provide the cameras.
Demonstrators gathered near the site on Sunday to protest the shooting, ending with a tense standoff with police and six arrests before the crowd dispersed, reports CBS Los Angeles. Earlier, Guardado's father spoke to the crowd.
"As a parent, you feel so much pain," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "You don't want your kids, so young and with their whole lives ahead of them, to have their life unfairly destroyed."
On Friday, more than 25 people gathered by a small memorial of flowers, candles and posters at the scene where Guardado died.
His sister, Jennifer Guardado, 22, held a white rose and a sign with his photograph.
"My parents are completely destroyed. We're all dead inside," she said. "I didn't even get to say goodbye to him, and it hurt me too much."
His sister said she wanted to meet the deputy who shot Guardado and see video footage of what happened.
"They're not going to kill an innocent person and get away with it," she said. "There will be justice in this world."
Noe Abarca said Guardado, 18, was his nephew and worked two part-time security jobs, lived with his parents in Koreatown and had a brother and sister.
"This kid here, he was such a sweetheart," she said. "I will not stand by and let this go on."
Abarca said his nephew was studying to be a mechanic and had recently told family members that he was considering joining the Army.
Guardado graduated from high school about a year ago, Abarca said, and he recently purchased a car. He didn't drink or smoke, and supported his parents, he said.
"He was a great kid. He was always making jokes, smiling," Abarca said. "How many kids do we have like him? Not many."
Guardado attended Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, according to the Los Angeles Community College District, which called his death a tragedy.
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