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California Briefing / Huntington Park

Police shooting of unarmed man probed

February 09, 2009|Ari B. Bloomekatz

Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide investigators on Sunday were investigating the shooting of an apparently unarmed robbery suspect who the officers said was fleeing a crime scene Saturday night.

Investigators said two officers opened fire because they felt their lives were in danger. No weapons were recovered from the robbery suspect, who was identified by the Los Angeles County coroner as Steven Hernandez, 23, of Huntington Park. The Sheriff's Department did not release the names of the two police officers.

Huntington Park police were initially called with a report of a man with a gun in the 2100 block of Zoe Avenue, then received a report that an armed robbery had just occurred, Sheriff's Deputy Richard Li said.

When officers arrived, they saw a dark-colored car leaving the scene and tried to initiate a traffic stop, Li said. After a short pursuit, the car stopped in an alley. Hernandez, one of four men inside, jumped out and ran through a residential area, Li said.

The two officers followed Hernandez and shot him near the 6500 block of Albany Street when they felt their lives were in jeopardy, Li said. Hernandez was struck in the upper torso and died at the scene. Li did not say why the officers felt they were in danger.

The three other people in the car are being questioned by authorities, but Li could not say whether they had been arrested.

A Huntington Park police dispatcher referred all questions about the shooting to the Sheriff's Department.

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