An independent autopsy found that 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot in the back five times, according to his family’s attorneys. The family sought their own findings after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department placed a security hold on the teen’s autopsy, the Los Angeles Times reports.
An LASD deputy shot and killed Guardado on June 18 just before 6 p.m. in Gardena, not far from an autobody shop where he worked as an informal security guard. Authorities say Guardado looked at the deputies, “produced a handgun,” and ran. The deputies chased Guardado and one of them opened fire, shooting at him six times. Authorities say they recovered a pistol at the scene.
Attorneys for the family say preliminary findings indicate five bullets hit Guardado’s trunk and another grazed his left forearm. Preliminary toxicology results show no drugs or alcohol in his system.
In light of the independent autopsy, LASD officials held a briefing this afternoon. Cmdr. Christopher Marks said he couldn’t comment on the independent autopsy, but said that the L.A. County medical examiner has not indicated that “the official autopsy report” is ready.
He said homicide investigators requested the security hold until they’ve completed all interviews to prevent compromise in the investigation.
One key missing interview is from the deputy who shot Guardado. Because deputy-involved shootings are homicide investigations, that deputy has the right to plead the Fifth Amendment. Marks said they could compel an interview in an administrative investigation, but that procedure follows after criminal one. Marks did note that the deputy is scheduled for an interview within a week. The deputy who did not shoot Guardado already provided an interview voluntarily.
Marks also said that the cameras investigators seized from the scene did not have any footage of the incident. The LASD is currently working on a plan to distribute 5,200 body cams to officers, but that doesn’t help here as neither deputy was wearing a body cam at the time. Investigators are still seeking out other witnesses who may have seen all or part of the shooting.
“We’ll consider releasing [the autopsy] once we’re done with the interviews unless there’s a compelling reason to keep that hold in place,” Marks said.