The parents of a man killed in a deputy-involved shooting in the Florence area three years ago while pointing a cigarette package at deputies are close to settling their lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the Sheriff's Department, according to attorneys on both sides.
Hector Medina and Consuelo Barajas, the father and mother of 23-year-old Christian Rene Medina, brought the complaint in December 2016 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful death, battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Attorneys told Judge Barbara Scheper on Monday that a resolution of the case was "in progress." The judge scheduled a June 28 hearing for any further developments.
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The shooting occurred about 4 a.m. on March 16, 2016, near 64th Street and Holmes Avenue. Medina, of Los Angeles, died at the scene. His parents' court papers say the young man was standing unarmed on a sidewalk when he "instinctively" turned around to look at the patrol car pulling up near him.
"Without warning or identification, the Sheriff's Department fired their handguns at (Medina) approximately 18 times," the complaint alleges. The suit alleges the deputies were not justified in using deadly force, that their actions were negligent and that the shooting caused the plaintiffs emotional distress.
In their court papers, lawyers for Los Angeles County stated that Medina made a 911 call reporting a robbery that never occurred. When deputies arrived, they confronted him because he was wearing similar clothing to that worn by the man he described as committing the purported holdup, the defense attorneys stated in their court papers.
Medina was shot when he pointed a shiny object at them -- which turned out to be a cigarette package -- while assuming a shooter's stance, according to the defense attorneys' court papers. Deputies Jay Brown and Rene Barragan were the lawmen who confronted Medina.
"I believed I had to make a split-second decision to defend Deputy Barragan and my life from Mr. Medina," Brown stated in a sworn declaration. "As such, I fired my weapon in our mutual defense."
Barragan gave a similar sworn declaration, saying he also opened fire on Medina fearing that his or Brown's lives were in danger. He said he would not have shot Medina if he knew that the man was unarmed.