WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the evening of Thursday June 18, Los Angeles County Sheriff (LASD) deputies shot and killed 18-year-old Andrés Guardado outside an auto body shop in Gardena, California, where he worked as a security guard.
Guardado’s killing comes during an international uprising against police brutality, spurred by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
It also closely follows police killings of multiple young Latino men in California earlier this month. Sean Monterrosa was killed in early Jue outside a Walgreens at the hands of police in Vallejo. Just days later, Eric Salgado was shot and killed in Oakland by police while still in his vehicle.
At 5:53 p.m. last Thursday, LA County deputies said they saw Guardado flash a gun and run between two buildings. Multiple deputies pursued him and shot at him.
Guardado was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the LA County Sheriff’s department’s statement on the matter. The incident is now under investigation.
On Saturday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva gave a press conference with the department’s Homicide Bureau.
In addition to working as a security guard, Guardado’s family said he worked a second job and was studying at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
Guardado wasn’t registered as a licensed security guard and wasn’t wearing a uniform at the time he was shot. Lt. Charles Calderaro of the LASD told the Los Angeles Times that the gun that was found at the scene was unregistered.
But Guardado’s cousin told CBS LA that it was uncharacteristic of him to carry a gun.
“I’d never heard or seen him have any kind of weapons,” Celina Avarca, Guardado’s cousin, said. “He never talked about them.”
A march was held for Guardado on Sunday, going from the auto body shop where he was killed to the Compton Civic Center.
Latino Rebels Radio LIVE special correspondent Melinna Bobadilla attended the protests. Bicyclists, Aztec dancers, Guardado’s family members and organizers were joined by protestors who carried signs and chanted for justice.
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“There was this overwhelming sense of an open wound,” Bobadilla said about the crowd present at the march. “As I was walking there I was already getting teary. And this set against the backdrop of Father’s Day, and seeing Andrés’ father walk through the crowd was really, really heartbreaking.”
Bobadilla saw many double-sided signs that looked like protestors were re-using from Black Lives Matter rallies they had attended in recent weeks.
Late in the afternoon, KPCC reporter Josie Huang tweeted that sheriff department officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse what was left of the peaceful protesters.
.@LASDHQ threw at least 2 flash bangs and tear gas
— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) June 22, 2020
Guardado was killed near a busy road, and at the march Bobadilla was shocked by how police were able to kill him in broad daylight near a main thoroughfare.
“Just seeing how out in the open it was made [his killing] land in a more insidious way,” Bobadilla said. “That they’re operating really with this understanding that they have impunity. They can get away with it anywhere and at any time.”
Congresswomen Maxine Waters (CA-43) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) released a statement calling for an independent investigation.
This is the second officer-involved shooting for the LASD in as many days. Terron Jammal Boone was shot and killed by police in a shootout on June 17. Boone was a 24-year-old Black man and the half-brother of Robert Fuller, a Black man who was found hanging from a tree the week prior in Palmdale.
Ana Lucía Murillo is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. and the 2020 summer correspondent for Latino Rebels. She tweets from @analuciamur.