Sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a 16-year-old boy in South L.A. on Sunday night, shortly after the Super Bowl, prompting angry responses from neighbors because the teenager may have been unarmed and his body was reportedly left uncovered for hours.
A statement said deputies were responding to a call about a young person brandishing a firearm around 8:15 pm. But as of Monday at 9 am, no weapon has been found in relation to the incident, reports said.
The investigation is ongoing.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office patrols in unincorporated areas of the county, including many of the densest, and lowest income unincorporated sections of South Los Angeles. Sunday’s killing occurred on the 1200 block of West 107th Street, near Budlong Avenue, in the neighborhood of Westmont.
“Tonight the LA County Sheriff stole the life of a child,” said BlackLivesMatter-LA in a tweet. “His name was TR. He was 16.” Later, a local report identified the victim as Anthony Weber.
The shooting happened after a chase, but few other details were available. The language of the sheriff’s department initial statement refers to the deputies believing the teenager had a handgun. He was shot after turning to face them.
The last online statement made by LASD over the incident was at 11 pm Sunday night. [See update below.]As word spread on social media of the killing, onlookers gathered near the scene. CBS Los Angeles aired footage of a man being arrested for yelling at the deputies, and angry people weeping.
The correspondent on the scene noted that neighbors were especially angry that the body of the 16-year-old was left uncovered for all to view for hours, apparently in the entryway of an apartment building.
The CBS report identifies the victim as Anthony Weber, 16.
Candles sit inside entrance to apartment building in South LA where 16 yr old boy was shot & killed by sheriff’s deputies. One man said shots were so loud it felt like someone was banging on his door. More @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/28iS5xc9ac
— Margaret Carrero (@KNXmargaret) February 5, 2018
Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s department has been embroiled in multiple investigations and trials related to corruption and abuse of force in recent years. His predecessor, former Sheriff Lee Baca, is facing three years in federal prison for obstruction of justice, in a widespread cover-up scandal over abuses in the county jail system.
Late last year, LA Times investigative reporters uncovered a secret list of hundreds of deputies being monitored for dishonesty and misconduct. In just the past year, sheriff’s deputies have made headlines for: drug trafficking within law enforcement, sexually assaulting inmates, demanding sexual favors from subordinates, among other crimes.
[UPDATE: Monday, 11:17 pm]
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, nearly a full day after the shooting death, L.A. sheriff officials said they believe the gun the victim had on him was taken during a scuffle or melee involving neighbors that happened in the entryway where the teen died.
Authorities declined to say whether they could consider the possibility that the deputies shot at the 16-year-old without just cause. They described the teenager who was killed as a “known gang member.”
“In this case, the deputies did describe specific features of a weapon that made us believe they did have a gun,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner, before he and other officials left the podium.