A vigil was held Saturday for an unarmed man who was shot and killed by Culver City police during what his family said was a mental health crisis.
The devastated family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department alleging excessive force in the death of 39-year-old Guillermo Medina, a father of three.
The candlelight vigil was held at the corner of Venice Boulevard and Cardiff Avenue, near where Guillermo was fatally shot.
On Dec. 18, 2022, police said they responded to a domestic violence call. Guillermo hopped into his car and fled the area, leading officers on a chase from Culver City to Hollywood and Santa Monica before returning back to Culver City where he crashed his car into a center median.
He ran from the scene and that’s when the officer-involved shooting occurred, police said.
Video of the deadly encounter was released in January, showing Guillermo running from officers and falling to the ground after being shot in the back.
The lawsuit claims Guillermo, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was having a mental breakdown during the incident.
Guillermo’s wife, Adriana, said she called the police and “clearly expressed” her husband was in crisis. Though he was acting erratically, he told officers he was not hurting anyone and begged them to use restraint, his family alleges.
“It was made clear to the dispatcher, it was made clear to the officer who was in my house over and over,” said Adriana. “I said it for an hour.”
Guillermo’s family alleges he was unarmed and mentally ill, and officers failed to provide timely medical care that could have prevented his death.
No weapon was displayed at the time, nor was one found at the scene, his family said. Police, however, said they found a replica firearm in Guillermo’s vehicle.
Guillermo was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving measures.
“What did the police actually know at the time of the shooting?” asks Allison Triessl, KTLA’s legal analyst. “The law does not allow for an officer to shoot at a fleeing suspect unless that officer has probable cause to believe that this suspect will do them or others serious bodily harm.”
The Medina family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit as multiple agencies continue investigating the case including the California Department of Justice, the California Attorney General’s Office, the L.A. County Coroner’s Office and the Culver City Police Department.
Police deny the shooting was unjustified or that the incident involved any excessive force. They also deny that Guillermo was experiencing a mental health crisis during the shooting.