A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was charged Thursday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in his car outside a Willowbrook apartment in June 2019.
NBC4’s I-Team says the criminal case is highly unusual, because few police officers are ever charged for using violence on-duty.
Andrew Lyons, 37, was scheduled for arraignment Friday in downtown Los Angeles on one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Lyons, who is free on $150,000 bond, appeared in court, but his arraignment was postponed until April 7.
The criminal case stems from the June 16, 2019, shooting of Ryan Twyman, 24, which was caught on a security camera in the apartment parking lot. The filing of charges stunned the victim's family members, their attorney said Thursday.
“The family had pretty much given up on the justice system,” said attorney Brian Dunn. “When you look at the way the shooting happened, it was such a callous use of force.”
Lyons and another sheriff's deputy responded to the apartment complex in Willowbrook and approached a parked vehicle. At the time, Tyman had been named in an arrest warrant.
Security camera video shows the car backing up after the other deputy opened a rear passenger door. Both deputies opened fire after Twyman put the car in reverse, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The car came to a stop nearby, and Lyons allegedly retrieved his semiautomatic assault rifle and shot into the vehicle after it stopped moving, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Twyman was struck by bullets in the neck and upper body. He died dead at the scene.
A passenger was not struck by gunfire, but had fragments of glass in his hair and was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for evaluation.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said that the case was ``fully investigated'' by the department and that Sheriff Alex Villanueva ``initiated an administrative review of the case which resulted in Mr. Lyons being discharged from his position of deputy sheriff on November 8, 2021.''
"Sheriff Villanueva remains committed to transparently holding our personnel accountable while providing for the safety and security of thecommunities we serve. Our condolences to Mr. Twyman's family for their loss,'' according to the department's Facebook post.
The other deputy was suspended for 30 days, the sheriff said in January.
In 2020, the county paid Twyman's family $3.9 million to resolve a federal lawsuit stemming from the shooting.
Dunn said the criminal charges mean much more than the settlement.
"For so many years, we thought something like this would not be possible," Dunn said. "It really does give a sense to the community that the justice system has not forgotten them."