Family sues LA County after deputies fatally shoot teen in Norwalk

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The family of John Gonzalez filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County after the teen was shot and killed by deputies on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015.

The family of a teenager shot and killed in Norwalk by deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

John Gonzalez, 18, was shot and killed by two deputies in Norwalk on Dec. 1, 2015.

Sheriff's officials and the coroner's report stated Gonzalez was a member of the Night Crawlers gang and was armed with a 9mm handgun when he was shot.

Deputies said Gonzalez pointed the gun at them, but attorney James DeSimone, who is representing Gonzalez's parents, said security video of the shooting contradicted the deputies' accounts.

"They contend that Mr. Gonzalez stopped, confronted them, and pointed a weapon at them," DeSimone said. "The video of the incident shows that's a lie."

MORE: Man fatally shot in deputy-involved shooting in Norwalk

The surveillance video captured Gonzalez walking with a friend when an unmarked patrol car pulled up next to them.

Gonzalez and his friend attempted to run away just before both deputies opened fire.

"It's an elementary rule of law that you don't shoot at someone merely because they're running away from you," DeSimone said.

The lawsuit alleged the deputies never gave a verbal command or warning before using deadly force, stating, "...only two seconds passed from the time the vehicle pulled over to the time Mr. Gonzalez was shot."

"We hope by bringing these lawsuits to the public eye, that law enforcement takes a good look at why their officers are using deadly force so quickly when they confront individuals in the street. It's time for a change. We need a sea change in the way law enforcement approaches individuals in this country," DeSimone said.

When ABC7 reached out to the sheriff's department, officials said they reserved comment on pending litigation.
Related Topics:
newslos angeles county sheriff's departmentdeputy-involved shootingganglawsuitNorwalkLos Angeles County
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