A Black man who allegedly punched a deputy and had a handgun was shot and killed by deputies Monday afternoon in the unincorporated Westmont area near South Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on Monday shot and killed a Black man in an incident that is sparking concern and outrage in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Westmont.
Authorities said the shooting occurred at the end of a pursuit and after the man allegedly struck one of the deputies.
Hours after the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene and demanded answers. There were chants of “Say his name,” “No justice, no peace” and “Black lives matter.” Some said they didn’t think the shooting was justified. After midnight Monday night, more than 100 protesters marched to the Sheriff’s station on Imperial Highway, where the demonstration continued.
The incident comes two months after the controversial shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado in Gardena, which has sparked weeks of demonstrations.
Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said Monday evening that two deputies from the South Los Angeles station were driving on Budlong Avenue when they spotted a man riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes. Dean said he didn’t know which vehicle codes the man allegedly broke.
When the deputies attempted to contact the man, he dropped the bicycle and ran north on Budlong for one block with deputies in pursuit, Dean said. In the 1200 block of West 109th Place, deputies again tried to make contact with the man, and he punched one of them in the face, Dean said.
In doing so, the man dropped a bundle of clothing he had been carrying. The deputies spotted a black handgun in the bundle, Dean said, and both opened fire, killing the man.
He didn’t identify the man and described him only as a Black man in his 30s.
Dean said he did not know how many times the man was shot, but called reports he had been hit more than 20 times inaccurate.
Gerardo De La Torre, 18, was playing video games in his bedroom on West 109th place when he heard 10 gunshots, followed by screams. He went outside and saw a group of people confronting sheriff’s deputies. Within five minutes, he said, 12 squad cars pulled up to the intersection, sirens screaming, where a man lay dead.
De La Torre was reminded of a shooting just three months earlier: A Latino man had come down his street, a gun in his hand, and was standing in front of his family’s home when sheriff’s deputies shot him, he said. The Sheriff’s Department said at the time that the man had pointed the handgun at officers.
There are still two bullet holes in the wooden fence outside his home.
“I don’t really like what’s been going on here,” he said. He plans to move in two weeks to join his brother in San Francisco.
When Arlander Givens, 68, saw the cruisers streaming by his home on West 109th Place, he knew by the number of cars that someone had been shot by law enforcement.
Givens has watched with alarm as Black men have died at the hands of the police in Minnesota, Wisconsin — and now, on his block.
“It’s like it’s open season,” he said.
n wasn’t holding a weapon.
“If he reached down to grab it, that’s different,” Givens said. “But if it’s on the ground, why shoot? That means he was unarmed.”
When his wife goes to the store, Givens tells her to be careful.
“We aren’t talking about some gang member,” he said. “We’re talking about the police. And that’s bad. I’ve got nothing to hide, I’ve got no reason to run, but when I see the police over my shoulder, I worry.”
A video taken in the neighborhood showed two deputies running after a man appearing to be carrying a bundle of clothes. Later, the deputies are shown with their guns drawn, apparently after they shot the man.
Investigators have yet to interview the deputies and the many other witnesses, Dean said. They have not reviewed surveillance footage or cellphone videos that may have captured the shooting.
“Give us time to conduct our investigation,” he said. “We will get all of the facts of this case and eventually present them.”
No deputies were injured.