The dramatic video, which was filmed just after 11 a.m. Saturday in the city of Lynwood, is the latest in a series of controversial officer-involved shootings across the country over the past several years and has provoked protests in the area, according to the Los Angeles Times.
No deputies were injured, but the suspect — whom authorities did not identify — was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
The Times reported that relatives identified the man as 28-year-old Nicholas Robertson, a married father of three.
The 29-second video, recorded from across the street, shows deputies firing a barrage of bullets at Robertson, first as he walks away from them and moments later as he is crawling on the ground near an Arco gas station, according to CW-affiliated television station KTLA.
“I want to assure the public that the Sheriff’s Department takes deputy involved shootings very seriously and that this investigation will be handled with the utmost professionalism and integrity,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said, according to the statement. “We are working closely with our criminal justice system partners as well as members of the public to put together the most comprehensive and accurate account of exactly what occurred.”
Acknowledging that many of these incidents draw public scrutiny and protest, McDonnell asked for the public’s patience as investigators review the incident.
“In this modern age of cell phone video and instant analysis on the internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time intensive,” he said.
Police responded to the scene after receiving multiple emergency calls about a “man with a gun” and “shots heard,” according to the LASD statement. The suspect, the statement notes, was described as a “male Black with a handgun wearing a checkered shirt.”
“The deputies immediately approached the suspect and gave him multiple commands to drop the gun,” the LASD statement says. “However, the suspect did not comply and did not drop the handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred. Witnesses in the immediate area said they saw the suspect turn and point the gun at the deputies prior to the shooting.”
Authorities said a loaded .45-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene.
KTLA reported that the video appears to contradict the official police account:
“In it, a sheriff’s deputy follows a man who appears to be walking away from the official and next to an Arco gas station. At least a dozen gunshots can then be heard being fired, and the man falls to the ground. Once on the ground, the camera panned to focus solely on the man, who crawls next to the gas station and away from the gunfire.After a pause in audible gunfire, at least a dozen additional shots are heard.The camera then panned back to two deputies, who both had arms raised and were pointing guns in the man’s direction. At least one of the deputies then fired additional shots before the video ends. It was not clear from the video if both deputies had fired their weapon, but when slowed down, more than 30 shots can be heard.”
Relatives who saw the video told the Times that the shooting looked unwarranted.
“They shot him,” Tracy Brown, 47, a relative of the suspect’s wife, told the Times. “They shot him; as he crawled, they continued to shoot him.”