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LA police shot Hispanic security guard 5 times in the back, autopsy finds

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 Hispanic security guard killed by Los Angeles police in June while on his regular patrol at an auto repair shop, was shot five times in the back, family attorneys announced Wednesday, citing an independent autopsy report.

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies opened fire June 18 after chasing the 18-year-old, so far has provided few details about the shooting except to claim that Guardado was armed and got into a confrontation with officers after fleeing the scene.

Explore»PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Police shoot, kill 18-year-old Hispanic security guard on patrol at LA auto shop

Authorities have not said that Guardado pointed his weapon at officers and have never reported that any shots were fired at deputies. Neither officer was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, leading to increased skepticism about the police version of events.

The police department has also delayed releasing the results of the official autopsy report prepared by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Authorities have, however, identified the two deputies involved as Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez. Only Vega, 30, fired his service weapon, but the reason remains unclear, the Times reported, citing sources close to the case.

The family pathologist found that Guardado died from five gunshots to the torso, and that he sustained a sixth wound in the left forearm.

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A preliminary toxicology report found no presence of drugs or alcohol in Guardado’s system at the time of his death.

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.

What happened

Officers said they first spotted Guardado about 6 p.m. outside the front of the business on Redondo Beach Boulevard, near South Figueroa Street, in the community of Gardena.

Guardado was talking to someone in a car that was blocking the entrance to the body shop. Deputies said Guardado was also wielding a handgun and immediately turned and fled when he saw them.

Protesters have taken to the streets of Gardena in the weeks since to demand answers.

Why we picked this story

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“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 a recent 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.”

Who was Andres Guardado

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.

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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 the week of the shooting, according to a report by KCAL 9, the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles.

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

Reaction

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.

Andrew Heney, the owner of the 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.”

Another shooting

Elsewhere, L.A. deputies also were not wearing body cameras when they shot and killed 31-year-old Terron Boone on June 17 in Kern County in what officials described as a shootout with the suspect.

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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.

Body cameras

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.