Hispanic security guard was shot 6 times — protesters demand answers

LA County Sheriff’s deputies are not required to wear body cameras

Police shot and killed a Hispanic security guard who was on his regular patrol at a California auto repair shop Thursday night. Andres Guardado was 18 years old.

Andres Guardado, the 18-year-old Hispanic security guard killed by police last week while on his regular patrol at an auto repair shop, was shot six times in the upper torso, according to reports citing details from investigators.

Protesters took to the streets of Gardena on Sunday, demanding further answers about Thursday night’s incident in which Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies pulled up and chased Guardado before opening fire.

The demonstration was mostly peaceful with a crowd of about 100 people, but L.A. County deputies used what appeared to be tear gas to disperse a small group that turned unruly after confronting officers outside the Compton sheriff's station, according to the Los Angeles Times.

What happened

Officials so far have provided few details about the shooting except to claim that Guardado was armed and got into a confrontation with officers after he fled the scene.

Authorities have not revealed whether Guardado pointed his weapon at officers or fired any shots himself.

After the shooting, deputies reported first seeing Guardado at the business on Redondo Beach Boulevard, near South Figueroa Street, in the community of Gardena about 6 p.m. Thursday.

Officers said he was speaking with someone in a car that was blocking the entry to the business. Deputies said Guardado was also wielding a handgun and immediately turned and fled when he saw them.

Two deputies chased him on foot, and for reasons not yet clear, one of the deputies opened fire, hitting Guardado six times in the upper torso, according to the Times.

None of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting.

Weekend protests

“Why’d you kill that kid?” the crowd chanted during Sunday’s protest as people marched down West Redondo Beach Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Times. Passing drivers raised fists or honked their horns in solidarity with the protesters.

Hundreds attended a rally for Andres Guardado, a security guard who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

Credit: Jason Armond

icon to expand image

Credit: Jason Armond

“What happened to Andres was not only a tragedy, it was an outright crime,” said Ron Gochez, a member of Union del Barrio, which organized the demonstration, according to the Times. “This is just one more of so many people who have been killed by the L.A. County sheriffs and the police ... this is the unity between the Black and brown community saying we are tired of this.”

A sheriff’s helicopter circled above with a voice blaring from a megaphone, warning protesters about the potential exposure to pepper spray and tear gas, while also declaring “We don’t want to see your children hurt,” the Times reported.

New details

Guardado reportedly worked two part-time security jobs. He lived with his parents in Koreatown and had a brother and sister,  The Associated Press reported.

The family came to the United States from El Salvador to escape the country’s civil war. Guardado wanted to become a mechanic or electrician and was attending a local technical college.

He also talked about joining the Army.

He had only recently started working at the Street Dynamic Auto Body shop, according to family, although authorities said Guardado was under the 21-year age requirement to be a security guard in California, and was not wearing a uniform the night he was killed, the Times reported.

“Deputies engaged in a short foot pursuit between the two businesses, at some point the deputies contacted the suspect and that’s when the deputy-involved shooting occurred,” a sheriff's spokesman said last week, according to a report by KCAL 9, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles.

The sheriff’s department later said a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol was found near where Guardado was shot, but that the weapon was not licensed.

U.S. Reps. Nanette Barragán and Maxine Waters of California and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Saturday called for independent investigations, including one led by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Times reported.

‘He was a great kid’

Last week, however, Guardado’s family disputed that he was armed.

“He was a great kid, he was always making jokes, smiling,” uncle Noe Abarca said, according to AP reporter Stefanie Dazio. “How many kids do we have like him? Not many.”

Andrew Heney, the owner of the Freeway auto shop, told reporters: “We had a security guard that was out front, because we had just had certain issues with people tagging and stuff like that. And then the police came up, and they pulled their guns on him and he ran because he was scared, and they shot and killed him. He’s got a clean background and everything. There’s no reason.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters on Saturday that the department was still investigating.

The shooting happened amid nationwide protests against police brutality and heightened racial sensitivities in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and one day after another deputy on the same force shot and killed the half-brother of a Black man found hanged from a tree last week.

Still no body cameras

Deputies also were not wearing body cameras when they shot and killed 31-year-old Terron Boone on Wednesday in Kern County, in what officials described as a shootout with the suspect.

The only video to emerge in the case thus far is from a home security camera that contained audio of the incident, according to The Associated Press.

After years of debates and then plans to distribute body cameras throughout the force, deputies still don’t have them, the AP reported. Nor do they have — or is the agency planning on getting — audio recorders or dash cameras for department vehicles.

The program stalled over concerns about its costliness and policies for reviewing and releasing footage, and more recently, implementation was tangled up in bureaucratic red tape.

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Chris Marks told the Times that officials are planning to supply body cameras to 5,200 uniformed deputies on patrol.

— Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.