Man’s eye ‘exploded’ after being struck by LAPD projectile fired at Lakers revelers

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Los Angeles police officers clear the area near L.A. Live after declaring an unlawful assembly downtown following the Lakers’ championship win on Oct. 11, 2020.(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police officers clear the area near L.A. Live after declaring an unlawful assembly downtown following the Lakers’ championship win on Oct. 11, 2020.(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

When the hard-foam police projectile struck 22-year-old William Gonzalez in the right eye as he celebrated the Lakers’ NBA title in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday night, it shattered his eye socket, ripped apart his tear duct and “exploded” the eyeball itself, doctors said.

The Kobe Bryant jersey that his brother Michael used to stanch the bleeding was immediately soaked as Michael dragged Gonzalez through the streets, trying to find a way out of the chaos.

“My brother … grabbed me and said ‘Run!’ because they were still shooting,” Gonzalez said Tuesday, one day after extensive reconstructive surgery.

Others also were badly injured in the area around Staples Center, where the LAPD declared an unlawful gathering as storefronts were being damaged and officers targeted with thrown bottles and other items. One man lost eight teeth when a projectile struck him in the mouth.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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