Commission finds LAPD officers justified in shooting of unarmed man

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The Los Angeles Police Commission has determined officers were justified last year in shooting a man who appeared to be holding a gun under a towel. (KABC)

The Los Angeles Police Commission found Tuesday that officers were justified in the shooting of an unarmed man in Los Feliz last June.

The commission's report backed a finding by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that the officers were justified in firing on the man because he appeared to represent a threat and ignored commands to put down an object in his hand that could have been a weapon.

It turned out that the man, Walter William DeLeon, had his hand wrapped in a towel and his arms pointing as if he had a gun, but no weapon was recovered at the scene, according to investigators.

DeLeon was badly injured when he was shot three times by police. He survived a two-week coma and nine surgeries and today is permanently disabled, including brain damage, and can no longer walk.

He recently filed a civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD.

MORE: Man who survived being shot in head by LAPD officer in Los Feliz speaks exclusively to ABC7

Beck's report also said the California Highway Patrol received a call from a person who said DeLeon had told him to call 911 and say a man was walking with a gun in his hand. Multiple witnesses said during the incident it looked as it DeLeon was holding and pointing a gun hidden under a towel.

The officer who fired at DeLeon said he thought he was about to get shot as DeLeon pointed at him. After talking to 11 witnesses, investigators also said it appeared as if DeLeon was either mentally ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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police-involved shootingofficer-involved shootingLos Feliz
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