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Norwalk deputies shoot 18-year-old in park

October 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hermosillo Park remained a crime scene well into the night Saturday after two sheriff's deputies shot and wounded an 18-year-old man.

The shooting happened just before 3 p.m. The annual Arturo Sanchez Halloween Parade ended at the park. Children in costume lined the streets and many families continued the celebration at the park. Omar Cardenas said his son was on the swings when they heard gunshots.

"I grabbed my son immediately," he said. "When I turned around I saw a young man running away from the cops with his back turned to the cops.

Cardenas said two officers were chasing the suspect when one of the officers fired about six shots.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says a group of known gang members were hanging out on the park benches. Two deputies on patrol in their vehicle noticed the group and began to drive toward them.

"The gang members dispersed, one of which began running northbound through the park holding his waistband," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman. "As the deputies followed the suspect in their vehicle, he stopped, turned and produced a handgun, pointing it at the deputies, at which point a deputy-involved shooting occurred."

The suspect has been hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries. No deputies were inured. Some witnesses say they did not see the suspect pull out a gun but rather pulling up his baggy pants.

Neighbors acknowledge gang problems in the area, but they say it appears deputies used excessive force in the midst of what had been a fun-filled day.

"We were just having a parade, having a good time. The cops shoot first ask questions later," said Mike Sanchez of Norwalk.

The shooting is under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the district attorney's office and the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.


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