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Willowbrook fatal deputy shooting began as traffic stop

November 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
What started out as an attempted traffic stop ended in a fatal deputy-involved shooting in Willowbrook on Saturday.

Now family and friends of 36-year-old Jose De La Trinidad are demanding answers as to why Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies opened fire on the unarmed father of two.

According to authorities, deputies attempted to make a traffic stop around 10:20 p.m. when the driver, later identified as De La Trinidad's brother, sped away.

When deputies finally caught up to the vehicle in the 1900 block of East 122nd Street, investigators said De La Trinidad, a passenger in the car, got out and raised his arm from his waistband.

The deputies fired, fearing he had a weapon. De La Trinidad, who was returning home from a quincea?era, died at the scene.

"It's not fair," said the suspect's wife, Rosie De La Trinidad, in tears. "I want to know why. Why? What am I supposed to do now?"

Family members say that De La Trinidad was trying to do the right thing by getting out of the car.

"He loved his family. He loved his girls," said the suspect's cousin, Martha Mercado. "He told his brother he didn't want any part of this, that he wanted to stay safe, stay clean for his kids."

De La Trinidad suffered from a severe arm injury that caused him to carry his arm at his side most of the time. Family and friends fear that that might have been what deputies saw.

"You can't start shooting people just because you assume something," said the suspect's brother-in-law, Chris Gomez. "He's not the only one. There are a lot of people that this has been done to."

De La Trinidad's brother fled, but was caught when he crashed his car at El Segundo and Avalon boulevards and tried to run away on foot.

No deputies were injured. No weapon was recovered at the scene of the shooting.


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