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Black man is killed by Los Angeles sheriff's deputies, sparking protest

As deputies pursued Dijon Kizzee, 29, he allegedly punched one of them, police said. A jacket containing a handgun was dropped, at which point a deputy fired.
Image: Los Angeles protest
Protesters clash with deputies of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department during protests following the death of Dijon Kizzee, on Aug. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif.Christian Monterrosa / AP

The fatal shooting of a Black man by sheriff's deputies after officers pursued him on his bicycle Monday sparked protests in the South Los Angeles neighborhood where he was killed.

The man was identified Tuesday as Dijon Kizzee, 29, by Los Angeles County medical examiner spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. Kizzee's cause and manner of death have not yet been determined, according to online case records.

In a statement Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that deputies from the South Los Angeles station were on patrol in the neighborhood of Westmont when they saw Kizzee, who was on a bike, "commit a vehicle code violation."

The statement does not say what code was violated.

When deputies tried to stop Kizzee, he dropped his bike and ran, the statement said. After momentarily losing sight of Kizzee, the officers saw him a block away and tried to "make contact" with him, the sheriff's department said.

Kizzee immediately punched one of the deputies in the face, then dropped a jacket, revealing a black semi-automatic handgun on the ground, the statement said. When Kizzee "made a motion" toward the gun, the statement said, one of the deputies opened fire.

Kizzee was pronounced dead at the scene.

Protesters clash with deputies of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department during protests following the death of Dijon Kizzee, on Aug. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif.Christian Monterrosa / AP

A video that appears to have been shot by a bystander — and which contains disturbing content and profanities and other offensive language — shows a man carrying what appears to be a bundle and running on a sidewalk as two deputies watch. NBC News does not know what events occurred prior to what is shown on the video, which was posted to Facebook.

The video cuts to a scene of two deputies pointing guns at a man who is lying on the ground on the street next to a curb. He is face down and does not appear to be moving.

Other deputies arrive at the scene, and at one point officers appear to be leaning over the prone man and putting handcuffs on him.

“How you gonna handcuff a dead man?” a voice is heard yelling on the video.

NBC News does not know if the man was dead yet at this moment in the video.

The sheriff's department has not identified the deputies involved in the shooting.

Multiple investigations are being conducted into the incident, which is standard procedure whenever there is a fatal shooting by a deputy, the sheriff's department statement said. These include probes by the county medical examiner and the sheriff's homicide and internal affairs bureaus. The county's office of the inspector general oversees the investigative process, the statement said.

Protests sparked by the shooting drew more than 100 people, according to NBC Los Angeles. In aerial footage, dozens of people could be seen peacefully gathered in the neighborhood of Westmont, where Kizzee was killed.

Kizzee's aunt, Fletcher Fair, told reporters Tuesday that she was sad and upset over her nephew's death.

"He should be as free as anybody else," Fair said, according to NBC Los Angeles. "My nephew was sweet. He loved his mom and his little brother."

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., whose congressional district is next to the area where the killing occurred, asked Tuesday what bike violation was so severe that they needed to stop Kizzee.

"What bike violation is so severe that they needed to shoot him as many times as they did?" she tweeted. "If he dropped a weapon, why was he then shot?"

The incident comes about two and a half months after Andres Guardado, 18, was killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy just four miles south of Monday’s shooting.

Guardado was fatally shot by deputies on June 18 after the officers allegedly saw him with a gun and pursued him as he ran away, the sheriff's department said. Both an official county autopsy and an independent autopsy by the family found Guardado was shot in the back five times.

Guardado’s family, who have said they are waiting for answers as to why he was killed, said that he was working as a security guard when he was shot.

The Associated Press contributed.