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Tension As Peaceful March Takes Confrontational Turn In Protest Of Fatal Shooting By Deputy

Anthony Lee Pittman, an artist from Compton, marches down Compton Blvd. with an American flag he painted. (Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
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Hundreds of people spent their Father's Day marching from the auto body shop where 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy last week to the station were that deputy is based.

The mood along the three-mile route from Gardena to Compton was at times mournful, angry and hopeful. By the time the crowd reached the Compton station, things got tense.

Protesters faced off with deputies in riot gear, who were standing behind a metal fence and perched on the rooftop. The marchers banged on the fence and chanted:

"Put the gun down. Put the gun down."

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More than three hours after they began, the crowd began to break up, vowing to be back.

As most protesters were leaving, the scene got far more confrontational. Deputies fired what appeared to be tear gas, according to photographer Brian Feinzimer, who is on assignment for LAist.

Our reporter Josie Huang reported getting hit with what she also believed to be tear gas:

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Huang also documented the injuries of protesters:

As well as other members of the press caught in the response by the deputies:

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The aggressive move by deputies to clear the area near the station of protesters came after several hours of very peaceful protest. Guardado's family began the march shortly before 2 p.m. asking those who came out today to keep things calm.

Here are some key scenes throughout the day:

And his father:

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Numerous Salvadoran flags were flown by marchers. Guardado's family is from El Salvador.

At a news conference Saturday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered his condolences to the Guardado family. Sheriff's officials said the shooting is under investigation.

They also offered details about the incident, saying that when deputies arrived at the auto body shop where Guardado worked as a secutiry guard, Guardado produced the weapon and ran onto the shop's property. At that point, one deputy fired six rounds, striking Guardado in the upper torso.

According to Captain Kurt Wegener:

  • A modified .40 caliber gun was recovered at the scene
  • The weapon had 13 live rounds
  • The weapon does not appear to have been fired during the incident
  • Guardado was not wearing a security uniform or a gunbelt

His family has disputed the claim that he was armed, and questioned why the deputy fired his weapon in the first place. It was unclear why deputies were at that location Thursday night, although in their Saturday news conference, sheriff's officials said there'd been another shooting at that address on June 7 and, at that time, weapons and narcotics were found. A number of businesses share the location.
Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Nanette Diaz Barragán today released a joint statement on the shooting calling on California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to independently investigate Guardado's death:

"Another day, and another Black or Brown kid has been shot in the back by police. These killings must stop. We demand it. The American people demand it."

Barragán's district includes Gardena where the shooting took place. An autopsy is pending.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the shooting took place in Waters' district. LAist regrets the error.