A traffic stop in Compton turned deadly Thursday morning when a sheriff's deputy got into a violent struggle with a driver, leaving the deputy injured and the man fatally wounded by gunfire, authorities said.
Sheriff's were responding to a call about a possible drunken driver just before midnight when they stopped a man driving a Toyota Tercel on Long Beach Boulevard near Pauline Street, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
During the stop, the driver was placed unhandcuffed in the back seat of the patrol car, Hernadez said. He was cooperative at first, but then became involved in a struggle with the deputy, during which the man bit the deputy on his left bicep before trying to grab his gun, Hernandez said.
The deputy fired three shots at the unarmed man, but officials were not sure how many times the man was struck, Hernandez said.
The man, an unlicensed driver identified only as Hispanic and about 42 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Video from the scene showed the man’s body sprawled across the south side of the road, not yet covered by any sheet or plastic.
The injured deputy could be seen sitting up in the back of an ambulance. He was released from the hospital about 5:30 a.m.
One witness said the driver did not appear combative as he sat in the back of the patrol car.
"When we walked by the man was so quiet back there in the back seat, he wasn't saying anything," said Linda Cochran.
Sheriff's Homicide Bureau detectives were sent to investigate the shooting, which will also be investigated by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the county Office of Independent Review.
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