The homeless man who was shot to death by Los Angeles police in a confrontation that was captured on dramatic cellphone video was a convicted bank robber living in the U.S. under a stolen French identity, authorities told NBC News on Tuesday night.
The man — who was tackled by multiple officers and fired on by three of them on Sunday — was widely identified earlier Tuesday as Charley Saturmin Robinet, 39, a French national. But that man was an imposter, said Axel Cruau, the French consul general in Los Angeles. The real Robinet's identity was stolen, Cruau said.
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The man who was shot Sunday was actually from Cameroon, law enforcement sources familiar with the case told NBC News. Coroner's officials confirmed that he was 39 years old but haven't released his identity because of difficulty in notifying his next of kin.
The man falsely known as Robinet was convicted of armed bank robbery and related charges in the robbery of a bank in Thousand Oaks, California, in February 2000, according to records on file in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He was sentenced — still under that stolen identity — to 15 years in federal prison, while two co-defendants were sentenced to 10 and 15 years, respectively, according to the court records.
Much of the case is sealed under an order that is also sealed, but other, unsealed documents filed in an appeal by one of the co-defendants reveal some details of the robbery. "Robinet" and one of other men entered and robbed the bank, while the third drove their getaway car, according to the court records. "Robinet" pistol-whipped a teller and was in possession of several thousand dollars when he was arrested, the records show.
Court documents show that the man known as Robinet was scheduled to be released from immigration custody on supervised probation in September 2013. But law enforcement sources told NBC News that the Cameroonian government refused to repatriate him because his documentation wasn't in order.
Because of federal limits on how long suspects can remain in immigration custody without being deported, he was released last May, the records show. U.S. immigration officials wouldn't comment pending the local police investigation.