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Sheriff's deputies gun down armed man during fight in South LA

Terry Laffitte, 50, in an undated file photo provided by family members. Laffitte was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies during a confrontation on Saturday, May 18, 2013.
May 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sheriff's deputies shot a man dead in South Los Angeles' Florence-Graham neighborhood Saturday night when he allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband during a fight with them.

The incident happened around 9 p.m. in the 6100 block of Miramonte Boulevard. Deputies said they saw the man, identified as 50-year-old Terry Laffitte, apparently intoxicated while riding a bicycle and holding a handgun.

Deputies said Laffitte came to a stop in a home's driveway. When deputies confronted him, he allegedly began to physically fight them.

Deputies said some of Laffitte's family members, who are known gang members, tried to pull him away from the deputies. At one point, Laffitte allegedly reached for his gun from his waistband. That's when the deputies shot him. Laffitte was pronounced dead at the scene.

"At least five individuals come out of the house on the deputies, besides the deputies trying to struggle with this one guy and trying to get him handcuffed," said sheriff's Lt. John Corina. "They may not have seen him pull the gun out but the deputies saw it."

Corina said a revolver was recovered at the scene.

No deputies were hurt in the incident.

Family members are accusing the deputies of excessive force and say Laffitte's killing was unjustified.

"My brother was on the ground. They had his hands behind his back," said Laffitte's sister, Sandra Cotton. "He didn't have a gun. Why would you shoot him if he was already on the ground and you guys had possession of him?"

Laffitte's sister said the altercation was recorded on a cellphone, but she claims the device was confiscated by the sheriff's department. Detectives said no cellphones were confiscated.

Family members said Laffitte had turned his life around and did not carry guns.

"He didn't go around with weapons. That just wasn't him," said Laffitte's aunt, Denise Smith. "I think something bad happened. I think it was a bad mistake."

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