NORWALK, Calif. - A jury awarded a Norwalk family more than $3 million Tuesday in the case of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies shooting a man when they served a search warrant at a home in 2011.
More than five years ago, a family lost Emiliano Amaya, 39, after two deputies shot and killed him on Dec. 1, 2011.
Authorities said the sheriff's special enforcement bureau, similar to a SWAT team, served an arrest warrant at Amaya's home in Norwalk in the 11000 block of Pioneer Boulevard around 4:30 a.m. Amaya lived there with his extended family.
The deputies had the right house, but the wrong man.
"They had their submachine guns, they had their helmets, they had their bullet proof vests, and they were startled by Emiliano as he entered a kitchen. They were yelling 'get down, get down!'" Attorney Garo Mardarossian said.
Five bullets struck Amaya in the back, killing him. Miriam Amaya, the victim's mother, said she saw the deputies shoot her son and continue to shoot him as he was falling to the ground.
Deputies gave less than five seconds for a response after knocking on the door. They then broke it down.
The man deputies were after was at the home that morning, but he said he was unaware of the warrant and the kidnapping and murder charges were later dropped.
"They broke into this house in 3-4 seconds and they came up with an excuse for it. They claimed they saw somebody at the window. But what was so interesting in this case is that in none of their original homicide statements did they ever mention that," attorney Dale Galipo said.
Miriam Amaya said her son was her strength and the family believes justice was served. Amaya's son, who is severely autistic and in his early 20s, does not know the exact details of his father's death.
Eyewitness News reached out to the sheriff's department for comment, but have not heard back.