A protest erupted Monday night after a Black man was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in the Westmont area of South Los Angeles earlier in the day, officials said.
Deputies saw a man riding a bicycle in the area of 110th Street and Budlong Avenue around 3 p.m., and made a U-turn to approach him for violating a vehicle code, sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said during an evening briefing.
At that time, the man got off his bike and started to run northbound on Budlong Avenue towards 109th Place, according to Dean. The deputies briefly lost sight of him and then found him near the 1200 block of West 109th Place, at which time they went to make contact with him.
“Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face and then dropped the items in his hands,” the lieutenant said. “The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun.”
Two officers then opened fire and the man was struck by gunfire several times, Dean said.
The man, identified only as a Black man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The lieutenant said the man was struck several times, “however we are unaware of exactly where, as we have not been able to move the body yet as we were waiting for the coroner’s office.”
“We still have to conduct our interviews of the investigating officers to see exactly what happened and transpired during the deputy-involved-shooting,” Dean said in response to questions on what prompted the use of force. “But if this individual was reaching for a semi-automatic handgun, I would suggest that, you know, that’s probably why deadly force was important.”
The man’s black semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene, officials said.
No deputies were injured during the incident.
The department will be speaking with witnesses and canvassing for any surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident, officials said.
It’s unclear what vehicle code the man violated while riding his bike. The investigation is ongoing.
Video captured by a bystander shows the man running from deputies, carrying what appears to be clothing in his hands, and a woman is heard yelling “don’t shoot him.”
The video then cuts to two deputies pointing their weapons at the man, who is on the ground, lying face down and motionless, partially underneath the back of a parked pickup truck.
Frantic screaming and yelling is heard in the background. Bystanders can be heard yelling, “what are you doing?” and “how you gonna handcuff a dead man?”
“Give us time to conduct our investigation,” Dean said. “We will get all the facts of the case out and eventually present them.”
Video showed protesters behind police tape at the scene hours after the incident, taking a knee and chanting, “this is what America looks like,” “these racist cops have got to go” and “no justice, no peace.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or visit lacrimestoppers.org.