Sheriff's Department Claims Dijon Kizzee Was Shot After Picking Up Pistol

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A Los Angeles County sheriff's investigator said Thursday that Dijon Kizzee picked up a loaded pistol that had fallen to the ground just before deputies fatally shot the 29-year-old man last month in the Westmont area.

"At one point, Kizzee's pistol drops to the ground, he bends over, reaches, picks up the gun and is shot while he stands with the gun in hand,'' Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said at a Thursday afternoon news conference where video footage of the Aug. 31 shooting was released. He added that one of the deputies did not recognize the object as a gun until "it came up and he saw the barrel pointing at him.''

It is not clear in the video if Kizzee was reaching for an object or if he had fallen during a struggle with deputies. The video shows the struggle, in which Kizzee can be seen swinging his arms at the deputies. The sheriff's department alleges that Kizzee punched a deputy in the face.

A 9mm semiautomatic handgun, loaded with 15 rounds, was recovered at the scene, according to Wegener, who said the gun was reported stolen during a Las Vegas residential burglary in February 2017. The department also recovered footage on Kizzee's phone that shows him with the same gun days before he was
killed, according to the captain.

Kizzee was prohibited from owning a firearm due to an active restraining order and his criminal record as a convicted felon, sheriff's officials said.

The sheriff's department initially made contact with Kizzee because he was biking on the wrong side of East 110th Street, Wegener said.

"Kizzee refused to stop, fled on his bike until he fell, abandoned his bicycle and ran from deputies north on Budlong Avenue,'' according to Wegener.

He said the gun was wrapped inside a piece of clothing that Kizzee held as he ran from deputies, who located him on 109th Place, west of Budlong Avenue, where one deputy attempted to detain him.

Kizzee raised his hands, holding a green towel and a red and black jacket, one of which concealed the firearm, according to Wegener.

A struggle ensued with the deputies, at which point the sheriff's department says Kizzee dropped the firearm and picked it back up, and the deputies shot him.

Wegener said the deputies fired a total of 19 shots and Kizzee was struck in the chest, both arms, once in the back and suffered a grazing wound to the head. The autopsy report has not been finalized, pending toxicology reports, although he died from multiple gunshot wounds, the captain said.

Kizzee's family's attorney has contended that he was shot 20 times in the back.

The shooting of Kizzee has prompted a series of protests outside the South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly insisted that while some people are legitimately taking part in peaceful gatherings, the groups have been infiltrated by people from outside the Westmont area looking to instigate violence.

Cliff Smith of Roofers Local 36, one of the organizers of a Saturday march, countered that protesters only started throwing rocks and bottles after deputies advanced on them firing chemical irritants and that his 7-year-old daughter suffered the results when some of these devices were fired near her during an earlier demonstration.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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