Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Deputies Fatally Shoot Man Armed With a Machete in Whittier

Deputies responded twice to the same Whittier neighborhood, initially after a report of a man armed with a machete who was banging on windows

A man was shot and killed by deputies after they found him holding a large knife to the throat of a woman Sunday night in a Whittier driveway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The fatal shooting occurred after deputies responded twice Sunday evening to the same Whittier neighborhood. Deputies initially responded to a report of a person armed with a machete who was yelling and banging on windows.

The man was identified by family members as 37-year-old Antonio "Tonito" Vasquez. 

Deputies, accompanied by members of the sheriff's mental evaluation team, encountered the man and some of his family members in the 8000 block of Rexall Avenue. The man was left in the care of family members after authorities determined that no crime had been committed, the sheriff's department said.

"Earlier in the day, I guess he was acting out," said Frank Mozqueda, the man's uncle. "They came and they left, saying there was nothing they could do to help.

"I had never seen him act out like that. Peaceful guy. Family man."

About two hours after the first disturbance report, the department received a second call from the same location. Deputies arrived to find the same man holding a large knife to the throat of a woman, believed to be a family member, in the driveway of a home. 

He refused to drop the knife, and deputies opened fire when the man advanced toward them, the sheriff's department said. 

The man was struck by several rounds. He died at the scene. 

Mozqueda said his nephew was in his mid-30s and the father of a 6-week-old baby.

"It’s stupid. He’s got a knife - he’s not running after them. Shoot him in the legs -- what happened to beanbags? They didn’t have to kill him in front of his parents," Mosqueda said.

The woman was not injured. No deputies were injured.

Family members said Vasquez had mental health issues, and they wished deputies had handled it all differently. 

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