Lynwood, California residents are outraged over a fatal shooting of a black man Saturday in which they say Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies used excessive force on the victim. The victim was armed, according to the sheriff's department.
An anonymous eyewitness captured a graphic video of the encounter from across the street and sent it to local news station KTLA.
The violent and disturbing footage shows the man apparently walking away as deputies fire at least a dozen times, even after the man appears to be on his stomach and crawling away.
The man was pronounced dead on the scene.
The sheriff's department said in a statement that the man was armed and refused to drop his weapon despite orders to do so.
Sheriff's deputies had responded that morning to several calls of a “man with a gun” and “shots heard,” according to the LASD. The sheriff's department said it received calls describing the suspect as a black male carrying a handgun and wearing a checkered shirt, and said that witnesses saw the suspect point a gun at deputies before the shooting.
A loaded .45 caliber handgun was recovered at the scene, the sheriff's office said.
As of Sunday morning the department had not identified the victim, though news outlets reported that he was Nicholas Robertson, a 28-year-old married father of three.
"When they shot him in the shoulder and I see him falling … that’s injustice for me," Robertson's mother-in-law, Pamela Brown, told KTLA.
Several dozen members of the community gathered at the scene Saturday night to protest the shooting, which they said used excessive force. Family members disputed that Robertson had a gun and questioned why he was shot even after he appeared to fall to the ground.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell urged caution over drawing conclusions from the eyewitness video.
"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," McDonnell said in a statement Saturday. "It will involve, not just one source of information, but numerous sources, potentially including multiple videos, physical evidence and eyewitness accounts."
Under department protocol, any time there is an deputy-involved shooting, investigations from the L.A. County District Attorney, the L.A. County Coroner, the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau and Internal Affairs Bureau are called to the scene and the incident is reviewed.
The shooting comes amid heightened national scrutiny into complaints of deadly force and excessive force used by law enforcement. A video released in November shows a Chicago cop appearing to fatally shoot a black teenager 16 times as the teen walks away.
Earlier this year, a report from the Los Angeles County Inspector General found that the LASD in particular lacked transparency related to deputy-involved shootings.
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