Shooting Death of Student Raises Questions from Family, District

By Angelia Coyne

Family members of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old L.A. Trade Tech student, who was shot and killed by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy on June 18 are at odds with law enforcement officials over exactly what happened. The fatal shooting occured at 420 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. in Gardena in the driveway of an auto body shop where Guardardo worked as a security guard.

Candles illuminate the night in Gardena near the scene where 18-year old Andrés Guardado was killed on June 18, 2020. His family is calling for an investigation.

Witnesses say an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy shot Andrés Guardado, in the driveway of Street Dynamic Auto Body Shop and Freeway Auto Shop, which share the same building.  Guardado worked at both establishments.

Guardado was majoring in engineering at Trade Tech College. He was a graduate of Belmont High School where he also attended classes offered by L.A. City College.

The Los Angeles Community College District has joined the Guardado family in calling for a swift, thorough investigation.

Guardado’s employer at the auto body shop was at the scene of the shooting. “There’s a nine-foot wall in the back,” shop owner Andrew Haney said. “He was a clean kid. He was trying to get me from inside.”

Haney said the sheriff’s department removed security footage and cameras from the shop prior to getting a warrant. Authorities detained employees inside for five hours of interrogation. An eyewitness confirmed that Guardado only worked weekends and agreed to pick up an extra shift that day. Collegian Wired spoke to an individual who said they were present just prior to the fatal incident. The eyewitness who wants to remain unnamed.

“Andrés was scared but did not have a gun on him,” the witness said. “He was shot in the back seven times. The Sheriffs flipped him over after he fell down to his knees.”

Candles mark the site where Andrés Guardado was allegedly shot by a LASD deputy on June 18, 2020. Mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil in front of the body shop where Guardado worked in Gardena, Calif.

Guardado was pronounced dead at the scene hours after the shots were fired on Thursday evening, June 18. CNBC reported LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva arrived to investigate the scene while employees were detained. 

This is the second fatal shooting involving LASD deputies within a week. Last week, deputies fatally shot Terron Jammal Boone, identified by family as the half-brother of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, a Black man who was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale.

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) issued a statement following the call by Guardado’s family for a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the killing.

“The LACCD contracts with the LASD Community College Bureau for its law enforcement services at its nine colleges and District facilities. LACCD is currently reviewing with the Bureau the District’s expectations surrounding its community policing practices that include training, professional development and response protocols to ensure the consistent safety and protection of students, faculty and staff,” The Los Angeles Community College District said in a statement.

The Collegian reached out to the LACCD and asked whether the district of the largest community college system in the nation will divert funding from its multimillion-dollar contract with the LASD, but there has been no response.

The President of Trade Tech issued a statement following the shooting of the student. “The circumstances are unclear at this time, but what we do know is that law enforcement was involved in the death of yet another young man of color,” Trade Tech President Katrina Vander Woude wrote in a statement. “We would certainly expect that a full and thorough investigation be conducted swiftly to provide necessary clarity.” 

Vander Woude asked that members of the college community pause for a moment of silence to honor Andres Guardado’s life.

Let us know what you think.

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