LOS ANGELES – An 18-year-old man was shot in the back five times and killed last month by a Los Angeles County sheriff MP who was still not interviewed by investigators nearly three weeks later, the lawyer and family officials said Wednesday with.
Andres Guardado, who friends and relatives said had worked as a security guard in a body shop while learning to be a mechanic, was shot dead near the city of Gardena on June 18. The Attorney General is overseeing the investigation and the FBI has been informed of the details.
The Guardado family commissioned an independent autopsy after the sheriff's department held the coroner's files "for safety". Lawyer Adam Shea said in a statement on Wednesday that the official autopsy should be released and published a black and white photo with bullet holes in Guardado's back.
"Andres was a good boy, he was our son and he had so much life ahead of him. Our son didn't deserve to die that way, ”parents Cristobal and Elisa Guardado said in the statement.
Two MPs were involved in the incident: Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez. Vega fired his gun, Hernandez didn't. Both were identified by their lawyers on Wednesday and remain employed in the sheriff's department.
Vega's lawyer, Adam Marangell, said his client is working with investigators and will be interviewed on Monday. Hernandez's lawyer, Tom Yu, said he was interviewed last week.
The lawyers said their clients' actions were justified
Cmdr. Chris Marks said at a press conference Wednesday that detectives cannot force MPs to speak to them. He said while it is more common for MPs involved in a shootout to take part in an interview within days of the incident, they can exercise their right to self-blame.
The lawyers said their clients' actions were justified. Marangell said in a statement that the results of the independent autopsy "do not change the ultimate fact that Deputy Vega has acted lawfully and lawfully".
Marangell's statement contained most of the details that have not yet been made public, although the authorities have not confirmed it.
Marangell said the MPs saw Guardado with a gun in the front waistband and he ran away from them through a driveway. Vega reportedly told Guardado to stop several times as he pulled the gun out of his waistband and ran on.
Guardado then stopped, turned, and raised both hands in the air while still holding the gun, Marangell said. He followed MPs' orders to put the gun on the floor and face down.
The lawyer said the gun was still near Guardado's right hand. Vega holstered his own gun and said to Guardado, "Don't pick up the gun" when he tried to handcuff him.
Suddenly, Guardado allegedly tried "clearly and unmistakably" to put his gun on the ground, the lawyer said. "At that point, Deputy Vega had no choice but to redraw his gun and shoot for self-defense."
Security cameras in the area have not captured the shots, Marks said, and MPs have no body-worn cameras.
The department said Guardado saw the MPs and ran, leading to persecution
In addition to the five shots in his back, Guardado also had a left forearm abrasion, according to the independent July 26 autopsy. Preliminary toxicological tests showed that the teenager had no drugs or alcohol in his system, the report said.
The authorities have only said that MPs have seen Guardado speak to someone in a car that is blocking a driveway, and that Guardado had a loaded gun that appeared to be made up of different parts, had no serial number, and an illegal magazine with high capacity.
Department officials previously said only that Guardado saw and ran the MPs, leading to a chase. They said the MP shot at Guardado, who was hit in the upper body and died at the scene. The department's account contains no further information about how and why the shooting took place. Investigators said they don't think Guardado shot MPs.
Yu said Hernandez was afraid for his safety during the persecution. However, the lawyer had no details of what triggered the persecution.
"It was a very unfortunate incident," said Yu, adding that Hernandez Guardado was "very sorry" for Guardado's death.
Authorities are keeping an eye on the official autopsy report until the deputy is interviewed, Marks said.
The sheriff's department said Guardado was too young to be a security guard and didn't wear a uniform.
The Los Angeles District regulator requested late last month that the District Inspector General inspect the investigation. The board also asked his lawyer to report alternative plans for an independent investigation.