The fate of the first law enforcement officer to be prosecuted in an on-duty shooting in Los Angeles County in 20 years is now in the hands of a jury.
Closing arguments wrapped up Thursday morning in the manslaughter trial of L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Liu, who could face up to 11 years in prison for fatally shooting Francisco Garcia in a Norwalk gas station in February 2016.
Liu pulled his cruiser into a 7-Eleven parking lot near Alondra Boulevard and Studebaker Road because he believed Garcia, 26, was driving a stolen Acura. After a brief interaction, Garcia tried to speed off but Liu chased him on foot and opened fire, shooting the man in the back four times. Liu tried to perform lifesaving measures at the scene, but Garcia died a short time later.
The deputy claimed that he was struck by Garcia’s car and was in fear for his life because he believed the driver was reaching for a weapon. But several witnesses have said the car did not make contact with the deputy, and an emergency room doctor testified earlier this month that Liu suffered no significant injuries during the altercation. Detectives did not find a gun in Garcia’s possession or inside the car.
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