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Stressing that the investigation was still in its “infancy” and that they wanted to be as “transparent as we can,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and a captain in the sheriff’s homicide bureau released new details Sunday about what led to a 28-year-old man being shot and killed by deputies Saturday in Lynwood.
One deputy fired 16 shots at Nicholas Robertson, while another fired 17 shots, according to Capt. Steve Katz of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. One deputy had been with the department for one year, while the other had been on duty for at least 18 months.
Both deputies have been re-assigned from field duty, said McDonnell, who added that Robertson had “prior contacts with the criminal justice system,” yet released no further details.
The sheriff added during today’s news conference that the department will be releasing video of Robertson and the 911 calls which brought deputies to the scene of an ARCO station near the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue.
Katz said Robertson fired six to seven shots in a nearby residential area, which prompted the first of at least six 911 calls at about 10:53 a.m. He also said that investigators had “evidence that he (Robertson) did discharge the gun.” Robertson allegedly left the nearby residential neighborhood after firing the gun and began walking, still carrying the weapon, which Katz said was a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.
The sheriff’s captain said Robertson walked south on Long Beach Boulevard, acting oddly and yelling out, and briefly spent time at a car wash and pizza place before deputies arrived at the scene.
They located Robertson in front of a busy ARCO gas station, about seven blocks south of the 105 Freeway.
The deputies “immediately gave him multiple commands to drop the gun,” said Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.”The suspect did not comply and did not drop the handgun, at which time a deputy- involved shooting occurred.”
During Sunday’s news conference, Katz added that Robertson’s gun “was in the direction of the sheriff’s deputy,” yet not pointed directly at them.
“The movement indicated that he was motioning in the direction of the sheriff’s deputies,” he said. “There were several citizens in the area. There were some concerns about their safety.”
Witnesses in the immediate area told investigators they saw the suspect turn and point the gun at deputies before the shooting, Navarro-Suarez said.
But an eyewitness video broadcast on local television appears to show the suspect turning his back on deputies and walking away when he was shot.
Moreover, Katz said some people at the gas station believed that Robertson was going to shoot them because they saw the firearm on him.
He added that the entire incident may have been triggered by “some domestic discord that (might) have agitated him to some degree, but we haven’t confirmed that yet.”
Robertson, father of an 8-year-old daughter and 7-year-old twins, was shot and killed at 11:10 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following McDonnell’s news conference, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali and other civil rights leaders demanded a U.S. Justice Department probe into the shooting.
“The shooting of Robertson is eerily similar to the shooting of Lacquan McDonald in Chicago. The Justice Department stepped in to investigate that shooting as well as the pattern and practice of police practices there,” said Hutchinson and Ali in a statement. “The killing of Robertson demands the same type of Justice Department impartial scrutiny. We have no confidence that the Sheriff’s Department can or will be impartial in investigating itself.”
McDonnell asked anyone else who might have cell phone video of the incident to share it with investigators.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the shooting to call them at .
— City News Service
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