(LOS ANGELES, Calif./Dec. 5, 2020) — The L.A. County Coroner’s Office began an inquest for the first time in 30 years to review the death of Andres Guardado who was enrolled in two colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District.
Sheriffs say the 18-year-old had a gun when they shot him outside an auto body shop where he worked. LATimes.com reported retired Judge Candace Cooper presided over the coroner’s inquest to determine the specific cause and manner of Guardado’s death.
The coroner’s office already concluded that Guardado’s death was a homicide. The official autopsy report released in July stated that all five gunshot wounds were fatal.
Deputies assert Guardado reached for a gun and opened fire as they gave chase. Still, an eyewitness told L.A. Collegian’s City News that Guardado was ” … Scared and wanted to get the manager from the back … and there is a wall in the end, where was he going to go to?”
The coroner’s office questioned witnesses and showed documentation from the autopsy.
“This inquest is designed to ensure the transparent review of all the evidence,” Judge Cooper said.
During the coroner’s inquest, clerks reviewed the case files.
While he did not have a license to carry a gun legally as the state requires, the last person Andres spoke to moments before the shooting said he did not have a weapon when he pivoted away from the conversation to get his boss. Witnesses say with [BLM] happening, Guardado was scared.
During the inquest session, the courthouse played a video of a press conference where the county sheriffs explained why they opened fire on Guardado.
“Mr. Guardado was not wearing security guard clothing, nor was he wearing a belt, nor any other identifiable uniform. He was not yet 21 years old; therefore, he was unable to be legally employed as an armed security guard,” said an information officer during a press conference.
Others are having a hard time accepting this reasoning. They criticize the sheriff’s department and insist the shooting is not justified.
“The footage obtained does not confirm any of this alleged evidence of the student being armed,” said Elsa Camillo, a 27-year-old paralegal student.
The deputy who shot Guardado did not attend the inquest.
“On the advice of my counsel, I am choosing to exercise my Constitutional right under the state and federal constitutions to respond to any questions,” Detective Mike Davis said.
The family has filed a civil suit against L.A. County for the use of excessive force in Andres Guardado’s death.