Man Shot to Death by Sheriff's Deputy Carried Illegal Handgun

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The 18-year-old man fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy in unincorporated West Compton near Gardena was allegedly carrying an unregistered handgun with an illegal ammunition magazine, and not wearing clothing identifying himself as a security guard.

The update from sheriff's officials came as congresswomen Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-Los Angeles, and Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, called upon California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to conduct a full investigation into the shooting, something that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva pushed back against at a Saturday press conference, saying that the attorney general's office did not have the resources to investigate every shooting.

Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener told reporters that Andres Guardado was talking with someone in a car when two deputies on patrol arrived at 5:52 p.m. Thursday at the Freeway Body Shop, in the 400 block of West Redondo Beach Boulevard, near Figueroa Street.

“Guardado reportedly looked toward the deputies, produced a handgun and ran southbound down the driveway of the business,'' Wegener said. Deputies chased and caught up with him behind the business, where one deputy fired six shots at him, striking him in the upper body, he said.

Guardado was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy was pending, he said.

The investigation has revealed that while Guardado was reportedly working as a security guard at the business, his weapon was an unregistered .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a polymer frame and no serial number, a Smith & Wesson slide and a prohibited 15-round Glock magazine fully loaded, Wegener said.

He was not wearing a uniform or any clothing identifying him as a security guard and would have had to be 21 years old to be a state-licensed armed security guard, Wegener said. In addition, there was no record that he had any security guard license through the California Department of Consumer Affairs, nor did he have a gunbelt, holster or spare magazine.

Investigators have yet to find video of the shooting, but search warrants were served to seize security cameras from nearby business and thus far, have not been found to contain footage of the shooting. Two of the cameras had ports for SD cards but no cards, he said. A search warrant was also served on a third-party alarm company for Internet-based footage.

Villanueva told reporters on Saturday that the case highlights the importance of body cameras for patrol deputies, which he said he has called for since December 2018, and he blamed the county Board of Supervisors for failing to approve them in a timely fashion.

The Guardado shooting came 10 days after a man was found in the driveway of the same business, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and a blood trail into the building, which led investigators to get a search warrant that revealed narcotics and a shotgun, Wegener said. The victim survived and the shooting remained under investigation.

Congresswomen Barragan and Waters on Saturday issued a joint statement calling for the state attorney general to become involved.

“Another day and another Black or Brown kid has been shot in the back by police. These killings must stop.We demand it.The American people demand it.

“Andres Guardado is the latest young man of color killed by police gunfire. He was shot in the back. The officers involved did not wear body cameras. We demand answers and call for an independent investigation into this tragic death. There must be full transparency so the public can trust the investigation and we know we are getting the truth.

They asked Becerra to conduct a full investigation into the shooting.

“Far too often, young Brown and Black men are caught up in a `shoot first, ask questions later' scenario with police officers,'' the congresswomen wrote. “We will not stand for it whether it is in Atlanta, or like this case, in South Los Angeles.

“Change must come now. For weeks, the American people and the world have marched to demand accountability, put an end to aggressive and violent police tactics and equal justice for Black and Brown communities. We must show them their pleas are being heard. Now. That begins with making sure we get justice for Andres Guardado.''

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also called for an independent probe.

“I am closely monitoring the situation in Gardena in the tragic death of Mr. Guardado. My prayers are with the Guardado family. I firmly believe that an immediate and independent investigation must be conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) into this matter, and I urge the sheriff's department to immediately and fully cooperate with this OIG independent investigation,'' Ridley-Thomas said.

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