At a morning press conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva described the 18-year-old Guardado not as a security guard, as some have claimed, but as a man armed with a loaded .40-caliber handgun who was working at a business known for selling nitrous oxide. The illegal chemical can be inhaled as a narcotic.
According to investigators, on June 18 Guardado ran from sheriff's deputies after they observed him speaking with the occupants of a white Lexus in front of the Gardena auto body shop.
After a foot chase, one of the deputies opened fire six times, striking Guardado in the back five times, authorities said. No fingerprints were found on the handgun that was recovered at the scene, sheriff's Commander Chris Marks said, but Guardado's DNA was found on the gun.
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Marks said a non-fatal shooting had occurred at the same business days before Guardado was killed.
In a statement, attorney Adam Shea, who represents Guardado's family, said the sheriff's news conference "did nothing to explain to the family, or the public, as to why Andres Guardado was shot in the back five times by Deputy Miguel Vega.
"The department's attempt to convolute and cherry-pick the facts to create a narrative that links Andres' death to previous incidents of crime near the shop is nothing more than an attempt to justify the killing of this young man," Shea said.
While the 18-year-old's family has said he was working as a security guard when he was shot, authorities said no business has acknowledged hiring him in that capacity.
"Mr. Guardado was not wearing a security uniform or clothing, nor wearing any type of gun belt," Marks said. "He was not yet 21 years old, therefore he was unable to be legally employed as an armed security guard."
Investigators said Guardado was armed with a so-called "ghost gun," or unregistered firearm, at the time of the June 18 incident.
"We hope the reckless and erroneous assertion made by some that Mr. Guardado did not possess a firearm that evening is dispelled," said attorney Adam L. Marangell, who represents the deputy who opened fire. "While the death of Mr. Guardado is of course tragic, we hope as more actual facts are released a fuller picture will develop showing the actions of Deputy Vega were, nonetheless, completely justified."
Surveillance video released Wednesday shows Guardado standing in front of the auto shop before being approached by the deputies and fleeing, Marks said, adding that the shooting was not recorded by any known cameras.
The deputies who confronted Guardado were not equipped with body cameras, the Sheriff's Department said.