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Family demands answers after deputy shooting

November 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The family of a 21-year old man shot and killed by an L.A. County Sheriff's deputy plans to hold a news conference on Wednesday afternoon to demand answers.A deputy shot and killed Robert Thomas, Jr. in Willowbrook on Monday night. Deputies say they were patrolling when they saw a crowd of people, including Thomas, acting suspiciously.

When they approached, Thomas ran, police said, and at one point, Thomas allegedly reached for a gun in his pocket.

His father says his son was shot in the back.

"They're lying, basically, saying that my son pulled a gun on them. But you can't pull a gun with your back turned from them and get shot 12 times in the back," he said.

Deputies said they recovered a weapon that was loaded.

They have not yet said what suspicions led them to Thomas in the first place, but say he was a gang member.

The deputy involved in the shooting is an eight-year veteran. He said there was no doubt in his mind that his life was in jeopardy when he saw the suspect reach for a weapon.

The investigation continues, and autopsy results are expected within days.