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L.A. deputy fatally shoots young man who pulled gun and was running away, police say

"Imagine this was your friend, your brother," said the manager of a business which, he said, the 18-year-old was guarding prior to the shooting. "It’s just messed up, all the way messed up."

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a young man who was running away after pulling out a gun Thursday evening, authorities said in a statement.

The man, identified by authorities as between 18 and 20 years old, was struck in the upper torso and pronounced dead at the scene, the county sheriff's office said in a statement.

The statement referred to the man as a suspect, although the reason for that wasn't immediately clear. The sheriff's office declined to provide any additional information about the incident when reached by phone Friday morning.

According to the statement, the man was spotted by deputies from the Compton Sheriff’s Station on Redondo Beach Boulevard in an unincorporated area of Gardena just before 6 p.m.

"The suspect looked toward the deputies and produced a firearm then proceeded to run south bound between two businesses. A short foot pursuit ensued and at the conclusion, the deputies contacted the suspect and a deputy involved shooting occurred," the statement said.

Police at the scene in Gardena, Calif., where a man was shot and killed June 18, 2020, by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy.
Police at the scene in Gardena, Calif., where a man was shot and killed June 18, 2020, by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy.KNBC

A handgun was recovered at the scene, police said.

Family members of the man told NBC Los Angeles that he was working as a security guard when he was shot. They identified him as 18-year-old Andres Guardado.

Andrew Haney manages a race car building shop where, he said, Guardado was helping with security Thursday evening when officers approached.

Haney said the teen had been hired because the shop was having trouble with people tagging the building.

Guardado "was not only a coworker, but he was a good friend," Haney said. "Imagine this was your friend your brother. ... It’s just messed up, all the way messed up."

"The kid was a hard worker," the manager added.

Haney said he was not present during the shooting, but he said there were witnesses. He said police took the shop's security footage.

Guardado's family and officers got into a shouting match over police tape Thursday night when relatives arrived at the scene demanding answers.

Sheriff's Lt. Charles Calderaro said during a briefing Thursday night that the man who was shot "wasn’t in a security uniform, I can tell you that."

The sheriff's office statement said the shooting is under investigation by both the department's homicide bureau and its internal affairs unit, as is protocol. The county's Office of the Inspector General will independently oversee the probes. Once the investigations are concluded, a preliminary review will be conducted by a sheriff's department panel to determine whether any immediate actions are warranted, the statement said.

The fatal shooting was the second in as many days involving a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. On Wednesday, Terron Jammal Boone was killed during a gunfight with deputies as they were investigating a case involving domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats and false imprisonment, according to a statement from the sheriff’s department.

Boone was the half-brother of Robert Fuller, who had been discovered hanging from a tree earlier this month and whose death the sheriff's homicide bureau is investigating.

A lawyer for the family said after Boone's killing that they were withholding comment until they received all the information.

Amid the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, two members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have proposed a list of eight reforms to the sheriff’s department and 46 local police forces. They include such proposals that officers be required to work to de-escalate situations before using force and that they give a verbal warning before using force.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva in an Instagram video on June 5 went down the list of proposals and said that all of them are already “on the books” for his department.