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Exclusive: Passenger's version of shooting

May 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Inglewood's police chief offered condolences Monday, but revealed little else about what led two officers to fire shots into a car, killing a man early Sunday morning. Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with one of the passengers in that car who agreed to share his story. Police in Inglewood shot and killed one man and injured another. Now it appears the shooting victims were wrongfully thought to be a danger to police.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch the accompanying video.

Nineteen-year-old Larry White was in pain and was heavily sedated on Monday as he was wheeled off to surgery on the heels of a police shooting in Inglewood that left him injured. His family is outraged.

"The family is taking it hard. It's messed up that this happened. It came out of nowhere. It was unexpected," said Isaac Williams, the victim's brother. "My little brother was just going out to get a hamburger. He wasn't doing anything. The police just took fire on him."

Larry was shot in the leg. His close friend, 19-year-old Michael Woods Byoune, was killed. The tragedy unfolded early Sunday morning at approximately 1:40. Inglewood police officials say two officers on patrol say they heard gunshots that appeared to be directed at them from the parking lot of the Rally's restaurant in Inglewood.

Police say a man was running across the lot on the 3000 block of Manchester Blvd. They say the man got in a car moments later. They felt something hit their patrol car and heard gunshots. They thought the shots came from the vehicle. Both officers fired at the car multiple times. Bayoune was killed, White was injured. A third passenger in that car says a bullet grazed him on the right temple area. That man would only identify himself as "Christopher."

Christopher spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News while visiting his friend in the hospital. He says he was the one that police saw running across the parking lot to get in his friend's car. He says they were trying to flee the initial gunfire heard in the parking lot, and instead were met by police, who fired on them.

"They were moving around, and I dove in the car with them," said Christopher. "When I dove in the backseat of the car, as soon as my friend shut the door, they were already shooting at us. Like, as soon as I got in the back seat and shut the door, they were shooting at us. That's what happened."

"And when they started shooting at you, you thought what?"

"That we were going to die. That's the only thing you can think," said Christopher. "We screamed for them to stop shooting us, we screamed loud and clear that we didn't have any guns, that it wasn't us, stop. All we could do was scream, and pray. That was it."

Authorities say no weapons were found in the vehicle. Some people in the Inglewood community say the officers acted too quickly, and appear to have made a tragic mistake.

Inglewood Police officials held a news conference Monday morning to announce they've launched an internal investigation into the shooting, and that the L.A. County District Attorney's Office is undertaking an independent investigation as well. The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

"We have independent witnesses who have given us information that there were shots that were fired. We have no other information at this time. We are actively looking to our community to provide us with information regarding any information that they may have about the shots that were fired," said Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks.

"I don't understand why it happened," said Jackie Roberts, the injured man's mother.

"They should have certain rules and guidelines that they go by, as far as coming and just shooting without saying anything. That's ludicrous," said the injured man's brother, Issac Williams.

Anyone with information on the gunfire is urged to contact the Inglewood Police Department at (888) 412-7463.

 

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