The official autopsy report of Andrés Guardado, an 18-year-old security guard killed by Los Angeles police last month, revealed that an officer shot him in the back five times.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s findings, released Friday, confirm an independent autopsy report released earlier this week by a family attorney. The sheriff’s department faced intense scrutiny over its initial decision to request that the findings be kept confidential under security control.
Guardado was shot on the night of June 18 during a foot chase and a full autopsy was performed on June 22.
All five gunshot wounds were fatal, and there were also grazing wounds to the forearms as well as minor fragment wounds, according to the report.
“The findings of both autopsies are indisputable and establish that Andrés’s death was, without a doubt, the result of unjustified police violence against an innocent young man,” Adam Shea, a family lawyer, said Friday.
Dr. Jonathan Lucas, chief medical examiner, said in a statement that he had “carefully considered the main variables in this case” before publishing the findings, including “supporting the administration of justice, as well as the public’s right to know. I don’t think these are mutually exclusive ideals. Both are important, particularly in the midst of the ongoing national discussion on race, police and civil rights, “he said.
Lucas said he believes the government can be more timely and transparent by sharing information that the public has a right to see.
“The cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds. The scope of the fire is unknown by autopsy. The form of death is homicide, ”said the report signed by Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Kevin Young.
The sheriff’s department said the shooting occurred in an unincorporated area near the city of Gardena after two patrol officers saw Guardado with a gun and he fled.
Authorities described the weapon as a loaded “ghost” weapon that appeared to have been rebuilt from different parts, lacked a serial number, and had a high-capacity illegal magazine.
The department has not released its account of exactly how the shooting happened, but an attorney for the deputy who shot gave a narrative earlier this week.
Attorneys identified the officers as Miguel Vega, who fired his gun, and Chris Hernández, who did not fire.
Vega’s attorney, Adam Marangell, said in a statement that officers saw Guardado with a gun to his front waist, and ran out of them through a driveway.
According to the account, Vega told Guardado to stop several times as he pulled the gun from his waist and kept running.
Guardado stopped, turned around and raised both hands in the air while still holding the gun, then followed officers’ orders to put the gun on the ground and lie face down, Marangell said.
The attorney said Vega eventually chose to “shoot in self-defense,” alleging that Guardado tried to grab his weapon on the ground.
The shooting was not caught on camera.
Hernández’s lawyer, Tom Yu, said his client feared for his safety during the persecution, but had no other details about the persecution.
In a statement earlier this week after the family learned that Guardado was shot in the back, his parents, Cristóbal and Elisa Guardado, said in a statement that the “findings confirm what we have known all along, which is that Andrés was unjustifiably killed. ” and added: “Andrés was a good boy, he was our son and he had a lot of life ahead of him. Our son didn’t deserve to die this way. “
Friends and family have said Guardado worked as a security guard at a nearby auto body shop while learning to be a mechanic.
The sheriff’s department, the country’s largest county agency, has a long history of cases of brutality and corruption, along with controversial killings of black and Latino residents.
In her Friday statement, Shea, the family’s attorney, criticized the department for continuing to refuse to reveal details of what led to the shooting “and bury the truth about what happened in the moments before Andrés’s death,” and He added: “How long should the Guardado family wait for the department to do the right thing?