Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday that he reached out to the California Attorney General’s Office to monitor the investigation into the killing of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Latino man shot by a deputy near Gardena last week.
Villanueva said he involved Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office “out of an abundance of caution.”
The announcement comes after a large Sunday protest outside the Compton sheriff’s station, where hundreds decried Guardado’s killing, called for answers for why the young man was shot and demonstrated against police brutality.
The Sheriff’s Department said two deputies were out on patrol when they saw Guardado talking to someone in a car that was blocking a driveway June 18.
The young man reached for an illegal high-capacity handgun when he saw them and ran into an alley, where one of the deputies opened fire, shooting six rounds at the teenager who was struck in the torso pronounced dead at the scene, according to the department.
It remains unclear what prompted the deputy to open fire. Officials said the deputies weren’t wearing body cameras and, as of Saturday, investigators hadn’t been able to find surveillance video showing what led up to the shooting.
Over the weekend, congresswomen Maxine Waters and Nanette Diaz Barragán called on Becerra to investigate the deadly shooting.
“Another day, and another Black or Brown kid has been shot in the back by police,” said a joint statement from Waters’ and Barragán’s offices. “These killings must stop. We demand it. The American people demand it.”
Villanueva had previously said in a news conference that it was too “premature” to involve the attorney general’s office, which is already overseeing the Sheriff’s Department’s probe of the hanging death of Robert Fuller in Palmdale.
“They’re not that big of an organization to be able to be everywhere for every single deputy shooting,” the sheriff had said.
Guardado’s shooting ignited public outcry in the community as his family and activists said they believed the teenager might have been shot multiple times in the back as he ran away.
As the investigation into Guardado’s death continues, officials said they expect an autopsy within the coming days to shed more light on exactly where the teenager was shot.