GARDENA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives on Friday were investigating the fatal shooting of a young man after deputies spotted him with a gun and he ran, officials said.
There were no immediate details on what led a deputy to fire Thursday.
The killing in an alley among businesses in the Gardena area was the second fatal shooting by Los Angeles County deputies this week.
More than 25 people gathered Friday by a small memorial of flowers, candles and posters at the scene where 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot.
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.
Abarca said Guardado didn’t trust police, and the family doubts he had a gun.
A Sheriff’s Department statement said deputies observed the man, who “produced a firearm” and then ran between two businesses.
“A short foot pursuit ensued and at the conclusion, the deputies contacted the suspect and a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” it said.
The man was shot in the upper torso and died at the scene. A handgun was recovered, the department said.
Lt. Charles Calderaro of the sheriff’s homicide unit said it wasn’t immediately clear if the man fired or brandished the gun at deputies or threatened them.
It appeared that one of the two deputies fired, he said.
The deputies did not wear body cameras, and investigators were hoping to find video footage from nearby businesses, Calderaro said.
Guardado wasn’t a state-licensed security guard, he wasn’t wearing a uniform or marked clothing, and the handgun didn’t have any serial numbers or identifying marks and contained a loaded, illegal large capacity magazine, a Sheriff’s Department statement said.
Andrew Haney, a mechanic and manager at a nearby auto shop, said Guardado had visited the shop for several months and never carried a gun.
Guardado would sometimes come directly from his job elsewhere as a security guard, often still wearing his uniform, to learn from the mechanics and to keep guard to prevent graffiti.
“It wasn’t like formal employment,” Haney said. “He was just looking out for us and the property.”
Georgena Laird, 37, lives across the street from the auto shop in a motor home. She wept as she described seeing deputies run down an alley and hearing four or five shots.
“I didn’t hear them say ‘stop, freeze,’ no nothing,” she said.
Laird said Guardado would offer her money or bring her juice and soda when her husband was in the hospital.
“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.
In a statement, the district said it “strongly supports” the family’s call for an independent investigation into the killing, adding that the death “comes at a time of national outcry for social justice and significant police reform regarding the use of deadly force.”
It was the second deputy-involved shooting death in two days.
On Wednesday, the half-brother of a Black man recently found hanged in a Southern California park was fatally shot when he opened fire on Los Angeles County major crimes bureau deputies in the Mojave Desert community of Rosamond, authorities said.
The deputies were trying to arrest Terron J. Boone, 31, on charges that he beat his girlfriend and held her captive for nearly a week.
Boone was the half-brother of Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree last week in Palmdale. Initial findings that it was likely a suicide led to protests and calls for an independent investigation.
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