Members of the Antelope Valley community are demanding greater accountability from the county Sheriff’s Department after two black men were killed by deputies in the past week, one of them the half-brother of Robert Fuller, who was found hanged in Palmdale.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials confirmed Thursday that the man killed in a gunbattle with deputies the day before was Fuller’s relative, 31-year-old Terron Jammal Boone of Palmdale.
Investigators say Boone was wanted on a warrant and was facing 12 felony charges involving domestic violence, terrorist threats, false imprisonment and an assault with a black, semi-automatic handgun.
Boone was accused of beating his girlfriend and holding her captive for six days, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press.
A surveillance team was working to apprehend Boone when he was spotted in the passenger seat of a blue SUV, driven by a woman and with a 7-year-old girl in the back seat.
Deputies pulled the car over, and the driver stopped in the parking lot of an apartment complex on the 3400 block of 15th Street West, across the Kern County line in Rosamond.
Officials allege Boone got out and shot at them from a black handgun, striking a detective’s vehicle. Four officials returned fire — three detectives and their field supervisor — and Boone was shot multiple times in her upper torso, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The woman driving the SUV was also shot, but the girl in the back seat was not wounded.
Boone died at the scene. The woman was hospitalized and had been released as of Thursday. She was not involved in the crimes Boone was accused of, officials said.
The deadly gunbattle came as Fuller’s family and friends put pressure on the Sheriff’s Department to more deeply investigate his death.
The 24-year-old was found hanging from a tree not far from Palmdale City Hall on June 10. Protesters continued to demonstrate Thursday in the park where he was found.
Sheriff’s investigators initially labeled Fuller’s death an apparent suicide, before giving into pressure to conduct a broader probe five days after his body was found. The FBI and state authorities are now assisting in the case, and working to determine if it’s linked to another black man’s hanging death last month in Victorville.
Investigators didn’t release information on Fuller’s death until two days after his body was found — and after deputies had shot and killed an unarmed 63-year-old black man on June 11 in Lancaster. The family of Michael Blu Thomas is now calling for an independent investigation into his death.
“We want justice. We command justice. We demand justice today,” his daughter, Tina Lee, said in a press conference Thursday outside Lancaster City Hall.
Deputies say they were responding to a domestic violence call when they tried to detain Thomas, and he resisted. They allege he tried to reach for a deputy’s gun before he was shot.
Thomas’ family disputes authorities’ narrative. They say he was disabled with only partial use of his left arm and poor eyesight. His girlfriend said she didn’t call 911, and was present during the altercation but didn’t see Thomas reach for a gun.
Outside Lancaster City Hall Thursday, an activist with the Community Action League called for a sweeping overhaul of policing in the Antelope Valley.
“Remember, the problem is 465 years old,” he said. “When you’re dealing with a problem that old, it’s going to take some real deep digging. But with the right leadership, we can dig deep enough and hopefully we can change not the attitude of a racist cop, but we can change the system that the racist cop functions in.”