A Redondo Beach police sergeant was justified in fatally shooting a man armed with an air pistol just over two years ago, according to a document released Thursday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors determined that police Sgt. John Anderson “reasonably concluded the immediate use of deadly force was necessary” when he fired at Sergio Acosta on July 16, 2018, in the 2500 block of Gates Avenue.
Anderson arrived within moments after being informed of a 911 call about a man firing a gun in broad daylight along a greenbelt frequented by children and families, and immediately confronted Acosta — the man described by the 911 caller — and saw him holding what appeared to be a firearm, according to the nine-page report by the District Attorney’s Office on the shooting.
“Although the weapon was later determined to be an air pistol, Anderson reasonably believed that the weapon was a firearm and reasonably believed he was in danger of suffering great bodily injury or death,” according to the report. “When Acosta reached across his body, Anderson reasonably concluded the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself against the threat to his life. Therefore, Anderson acted in lawful self-defense when he fired his duty weapon at Acosta.”
The 24-year-old Redondo Beach man who suffered four gunshot wounds and died soon after being taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and a forensic analysis of his blood showed it contained amphetamine, methamphetamine and marijuana, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the District Attorney’s Office found that a Long Beach police officer used reasonable force to try to detain Cesar Antonio Rodriguez during a struggle at the Wardlow Blue Line Station, where the 23-year-old man died after becoming stuck between a platform and an incoming train on Aug. 29, 2017.
Prosecutors concluded that the evidence supported the conclusion that Officer Martin Ron “used reasonable force to attempt to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome the resistance of Rodriguez.”
The officer had not been able to verify the man’s identity so he was authorized to take him into custody on suspicion of fare evasion and providing false identification, according to the document detailing the investigation into Rodriguez’s death.
The officer also found a clear plastic bindle containing methamphetamine during a pat down search, from which Rodriguez pulled away toward the train tracks, according to the report.
“As Ron tried to regain control of Rodriguez, Rodriguez continued moving towards the edge of the platform, causing the two men to fall down. Several witnesses observed Ron attempting to pull Rodriguez back from the edge of the platform before Rodriguez was struck by the train,” according to the report.
Rodriguez’s mother filed a civil lawsuit involving her son’s death, but the status of the case was not immediately available.
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