The FBI said Friday it would review the LA County Sheriff's Department's killing of an 18-year-old man in Gardena that has drawn protests and accusations from the man's family that the shooting was unjustified and excessive.
"FBI Los Angeles is aware of the death of Andres Guardado and will review all available evidence to determine what federal response is warranted," the agency said in a statement Friday.
Andres Guardado was shot and killed June 18 near an auto body shop on Redondo Beach Boulevard in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. Deputies said Guardado was seen talking to someone in a car that was blocking a driveway, and that he had a gun when he began to run. A deputy fired a half-dozen rounds at Guardado, who died at the scene, according to authorities.
The LA County Coroner's Office publicly released its autopsy report on Guardado's death over the objections of the Sheriff's Department and it showed Guardado had been shot in the back 5 times. Guardado's family said a private autopsy it commissioned had reached the same findings.
Family members and other residents have held demonstrations and demanded more information about the shooting. Relatives have said Guardado was working as an informal security guard for an auto body shop in the area, and was doing so when he was approached by the deputies.
The LA County Board of Supervisors called for an independent investigation. Members unanimously approved a motion asking the sheriff to provide the county’s inspector general with “immediate and full access to all evidence requested in order to provide independent oversight.” The motion also called on the county counsel to report on alternative plans for an independent probe.
Sheriff's officials said a weapon was discovered at the scene -- an unregistered .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a polymer frame and no serial number, a Smith & Wesson slide and a 15-round magazine. Officials have said there is no evidence Guardado fired any shots.
Cameras seized at the scene did not contain any video recording of the shooting, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said that he would make public the investigative findings as soon as possible, but said progress was slowed by people who claimed on social media that they witnesses the killing. He said the public release of the coroner's report was an unprecedented moved that could jeopardize the investigation.
"This move will now force the Sheriffs Department to use court orders to enforce security holds that exist for only one purpose -- to prevent tainting witness testimony prior to interviews," Villanueva said last week.
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