Los Angeles Coroner Orders Inquest Into the Death of Andrés Guardado
The independent inquest, beginning November 30, is the first one in the county in more than 30 years.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced that it will conduct an independent inquest into the cause of death of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado, months after he was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy on June 18. This is the first inquest of its kind in L.A. County in more than 30 years.
According to the department's press release, medical examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas appointed former California Court of Appeals Justice Candace Cooper to preside over the case. The inquest will begin on November 30 and is going to look into the "circumstances, manner, and cause of death" of Guardado.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has failed to be transparent in its investigation into the circumstances, manner, and cause of Andres' death," Adam Shea, an attorney for the Guardado family, said in a statement. "The Guardado family remains diligent in seeking justice for Andres and hopeful that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will change its course of conduct for this independent investigation by formal inquest. The veil of secrecy must be lifted."
Protesters have been calling for the arrest of the deputy who shot Guardado since June, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has faced criticism for its handling of the case. Guardado was shot five times in the back while working as a security guard at an auto shop in Gardena, California. The deputies involved in his killing have been identified as Miguel Vega, who opened fire, and Chris Hernandez. The deputies claimed to have seen Guardado with a gun on the day of the shooting. When he ran away, the deputies chased him into an alley, where he was killed.
While a 40-caliber semiautomatic pistol was found at the scene, authorities have been unable to determine whether or not Guardado ever aimed the unfired gun at the officers. Investigators said there was no video of the shooting because the deputies were not wearing body cameras; they were also unable to find video footage of the shooting from surrounding businesses.