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South L.A. mom says police killed her son

August 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A South L.A. mother says police murdered her son. It revolves around an incident where officers of the special investigation detail opened fire on a car full of robbery suspects. But what led up to the shooting is in question.Police at Parker Center aren't saying much about the officer-involved shooting except to say that it is under investigation. Witnesses claim the shooting was unprovoked.

"They killed him, they shot my son," said Natalie Hardison, the victim's mother.

Hardison is the mother of 18-year-old Jessie Long, a robbery suspect who was shot to death by police Thursday afternoon.

"I believe in disciplining my child. I would have rather for you to lock him up, besides kill my child that was 18 years old. Protect and serve what?" said Hardison.

Police say Long and three other men were under surveillance by the LAPD's elite Special Investigation Section, or SIS. While under surveillance, the men allegedly robbed a Metro PCS cell phone store in the 5500 block of Central Avenue in South L.A. Thursday around 3:30 p.m.

When the suspects attempted to flee the scene in a car, authorities say SIS undercover agents and unmarked vehicles tried to stop the suspects. The incident led to an officer-involved shooting a few blocks from the crime scene. Long was killed, two other suspects were injured and a fourth was arrested.

"The police, they didn't say, 'This is the police' or nothing. They just jumped out the car and just started bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Because the car was already parked. And the other people they didn't have no weapon on them," said Pauline Hazelwood, a witness.

"They said that my son pulled a gun on him, but it's impossible," said Hardison.

The more than 40-year-old SIS has been known as the LAPD's deadliest unit. Its mission is to hunt down the city's most brutal criminals. In 1990 the unit drew criticism after killing three suspects in a shootout at a McDonald's in Sunland.

In the late 1990's, the unit received more heat after they were involved more shootouts that left multiple suspects dead. A federal judge had considered disbanding the unit, but it survived.

Police aren't saying whether the suspects pointed guns, or fired at the SIS unit before the officer started shooting on Thursday afternoon.

Police say the shooting continues to be under investigation.

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