Family of Man Shot by Deputies: “He Didn't Deserve to Die Like This”

Shots were fired after deputies attempted a traffic stop in Compton

A family is demanding justice after a man was fatally shot by deputies during an attempted traffic stop in Compton late Tuesday.

Deputies were attempting to conduct a traffic stop because the driver, identified by family members as 24-year-old Antoine Dominique Hunter, appeared to be intoxicated, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The driver refused to stop the car and led deputies on a slow-speed pursuit before crashing into another vehicle, sheriff's officials said. The driver allegedly tried to hit deputies with his car and reached for a handgun before two deputies opened fire and struck him multiple times.

The driver died at the scene. A wounded passenger in the vehicle was hospitalized in fair condition.

No deputies were injured in the shooting at North Poinsettia Avenue and East Palmer Street.

According to the sheriff's department, one of the deputies opened fire when he mistakenly thought that a round fired by his partner had come from Hunter's gun.

It was later determined that the loaded revolver found inside Hunter's car had not been fired, sheriff's officials said.

"The round that the deputy heard, the deputy who shot into the car, was his partner's gun being fired into the car, because everything happened simultaneously," Lt. Eddie Hernandez said.

Hunter was a father and an aspiring football player.

"My son is no angel, but he didn't carry a gun and he didn't deserve to die like this," said Hunter's mother, Martha Willis. "I just want to know the truth. If my son was wrong, then OK, Lord help me to deal with that. But if this police officer was wrong, then help me forgive him and move on with my life."

Willis, of Victorville, said Hunter was released from prison about one year ago after a burglary conviction and had just enrolled in Los Angeles Southwest College. The school confirmed Hunter is enrolled for the spring semester.

Willis and other visitors left flowers, candles and other items at the site of the crash and shooting. Family and community members gathered at the scene, holding signs and demanding justice.

"The actions of the individuals precipitated what wound up happening," Hernandez said.

The deputies who opened fire are 9- and 14-year veterans. They now have time off for psychological evaluations. The sheriff's department will determine within the next 10 days whether any administrative action will be taken against them.

Willian Avila, Hetty Chang and Beverly White contributed to this report.

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