Autopsy report reveals East L.A. man was shot 13 times in back by deputies

MONTEBELLO, Calif. (KABC) -- It's been nearly a year since Anthony Vargas was shot and killed following an encounter with two East Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies, but its only recently that his mother, Lisa Vargas, was able to learn the details from a coroner's report.

Lisa's attorney went step-by-step, pointing to a diagram from the autopsy that showed each of the 13 gunshot wounds.

"Not one single shot in the front... not one single shot," said family attorney Humberto Guizar. "This is an execution, this is murder, and these deputies should be charged with murder."

The shooting happened on Aug. 12, 2018. Anthony was returning home from a party. According to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called to the Nueva Maravilla housing complex following a robbery. Deputies responding saw Anthony walking through the apartment courtyard and say he ran from them. They say as deputies went to detain Anthony, a fight broke out and the 21-year-old grabbed a gun from his waistband. But the family is disputing those claims.

"If you go out into the community and ask about my son, they will tell you he led bible studies in people's houses, he took care of kids that didn't have fathers," said Lisa.

"They claim that he had a gun. We believe that it was planted by one of these deputy gang members," said Guizar.

In a lawsuit filed by the family, they claim the deputies belong to a secret gang within the sheriff's department known as the Banditos. They also say investigators have stonewalled their requests for more information.

"They claim the district attorney's office is still investigating, well I hope that investigation results in criminal charges," Guizar added.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said:

"Once again, we would like to express our condolences to the family of Anthony Vargas. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is aware of the lawsuit filed on his behalf. The facts surrounding this incident have been presented for independent review to the District Attorney's Office through their Crimes Against Peace Officer's Section. Due to the ongoing investigation, and the pending litigation, we should not comment further at this time. As always, the public safety of all Los Angeles County residents remains our number one priority."
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