A former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, fired last year for being an "arch-practical joker," was involved in a shoot-out in front of an Inglewood liquor store over the weekend that left one man dead, authorities said Monday.
Brent Talmo, 25, who is suing to get his job back, was with an off-duty deputy, Robert Lee Harris, 27, early Sunday morning when the two came to the aid of a woman companion who said she had been verbally assaulted by a man, Inglewood police said.
Talmo and Harris were confronting Jose Hernandez when a gun-wielding friend came to his defense and reportedly fired a shot. Harris and Talmo, unhurt, returned fire, killing David Gomez, 29, of Inglewood instantly, police said.
"We're still trying to piece it all together," Police Sgt. Harold Moret said of the incident. "We are still talking with witnesses and those involved."
No charges have been filed, he said. Police said a preliminary investigation showed that Harris, of Los Angeles, and Talmo, of Tujunga, fired in self-defense.
Moret said Harris was carrying a revolver at the time and had a second gun in his car, which he gave to Talmo after Gomez fired the shot in the parking lot of a liquor store in the 4500 block of West Century Boulevard.
Harris has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. A sheriff's spokesman said a temporary suspension is routine in such cases.
Hernandez, 36, of Inglewood, was arrested and booked for investigation of public drunkenness. He was later released, police said.
Talmo, who lists his occupation as carpenter, was fired from the Sheriff's Department for routinely violating department regulations "in a series of on- and off-duty misconducts" while working at the Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho in Castaic, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Among other things, the spokesman said, Talmo was accused of placing a Styrofoam cup in the gas tank of a vehicle; hiding a dead gopher in a prisoner's pocket; displaying his revolver on a freeway to greet another deputy and turning over the bunk of a sleeping inmate, causing the prisoner to fall and break his nose.
During the 13-day Civil Service Commission hearing that resulted in his firing, there were also accusations that Talmo and other deputies routinely went on "search-and-destroy missions," during which they ruined inmates' personal belongings.
Talmo filed a lawsuit seeking to have the commission's decision overturned. It is pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.