Family of man fatally shot after chase is suing Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The family of a man shot and killed by deputies after a high-speed chase is now suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, saying deputies used excessive force.

"That wound is never going to close. It's always going to be there, and the only closure I get is from my Lord, Jesus Christ," said the man's mother, Maria Reza.

Reza remains overwhelmed with grief eight months after her son was shot to death by in Pico Rivera. Reza and her family say the killing was unjustified.

"These were well-trained officers. How do you shoot a person to the back? Do they train them to shoot somebody in the back? He was not attacking them, he was running away from them. How do you shoot at somebody who's running away from you?"

Carmelo Pizarro led deputies on a chase after 1:30 a.m. on July 19. During the chase, he crashed his car, got out and took off on foot. At the time, deputies claimed Pizarro was running and armed. They opened fire and killed him. Deputies said they found a handgun nearby in a backyard.

The lawsuit claims Pizarro was unarmed and willing to surrender.

"He proceeded to surrender when they shot him dead. He was not armed, absolutely not armed. We believe that there was a gun found in the car that he abandoned and ran from," explained family attorney Humberto Guizar.

Guizar said while the lawsuit seeks to uncover the truth in the deputy-involved shooting, the suit also demands the sheriff's department pay for leaving Pizarro's young daughter without a father.

"We definitely will be seeking damages of fair compensation for Mr. Pizarro's child. She's going to have to live the rest of her life without her father," he said.

"I just place everything in my Lord Jesus' hands, and I know I'll get justice for my son," said Reza.

Sheriff's officials said they will not comment on pending litigation.
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