LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The sheriff's department released video today of a deadly deputy-involved shooting of a 24-year-old man in Willowbrook who authorities claim used his vehicle as a weapon against deputies, but the man's relatives insist the shooting was unjustified.
Ryan Twyman of Los Angeles was under investigation for felony weapons violations at the time of the shooting, according to sheriff's Cmdr. April Tardy.
Two deputies who were searching for Twyman went to an apartment complex in the 13100 block of South San Pedro Street about 7:30 p.m. June 6 and found him in the driver's seat of a Kia Forte. Another man was in the passenger seat of the car, which was parked in the south parking lot of the complex, Tardy said.
Security video shows the deputies approaching the car with weapons drawn, and one of them opens the rear passenger side door in an attempt to talk with Twyman, who started car's engine and put it in reverse, Tardy said.
The other deputy moved in and tried to open the driver's side door, but the video shows the Kia moving in reverse, knocking the deputy on the passenger side of the car off balance.
“At that time, both deputies fired their service pistols at Mr. Twyman in order to stop him from seriously injuring the deputy” on the passenger side of the vehicle, Tardy said.
The Kia continued in reverse in a looping turn as deputies fired in the direction of Twyman. One deputy then ran back to the patrol vehicle and retrieved a rifle from the trunk, Tardy said.
Both deputies appeared to fire additional shots in the direction of the car, which continued in reverse until it hit a metal post in the parking lot, she said.
The deputies took cover behind a pickup truck in the parking lot and fired additional shots. A total of 34 shots were fired. Twyman was struck in the upper body and pronounced dead at the scene, Tardy said.
The passenger was not hurt and was later interviewed and released, she said.
Twyman's father, Charles, told reporters at a news conference with his family's lawyer, that he believes his son's shooting was unjustified, noting that Twyman was unarmed.
“After waking up this morning and watching this video, I have a clear view, opinion that my son was murdered,” he said.
Twyman's sister, Chiquita, added, “He was very respectful and everyone loved him -- his kids, his family, everyone. And we just want to see justice for Ryan, because this isn't the first (shooting) but most definitely it won't be the last one.”
The family is filing a damages claim against the county and the sheriff's department. A claim is a precursor to a lawsuit. The family's attorney contends there was no justification for shooting into the car.
Twyman was previously convicted for felony weapons charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and was on felony probation at the time of the shooting, Tardy said.
“The deputies involved in the shooting are assigned to administrative duties pending outcome of the investigation,” Tardy said. Neither deputy was hurt.
“When a deputy-involved shooting occurs multiple independent investigations immediately begin at the scene, including an investigation by the county District Attorney's Office. Public safety of all Los Angeles County residents remains the department's number one priority,” the statement said.
Previously, community activist Najee Ali, a representative of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, said Twyman, a father of three, “was not a gang member, was not a criminal, and if he was, we would have heard.”