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Unarmed Man Shot And Killed By Sheriff's Deputy Was Homeless, Say Witnesses

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The fatal shooting of an unarmed man by sheriff's deputies on Tuesday night is under investigation, and witnesses say the victim was a local homeless man.

According to a press release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, deputies attempted to make contact a man on a bicycle around 9 p.m. on the 31500 block of Castaic Road in Castaic. The man eventually ditched the bike and fled on foot about one block north when he ran into the deputies again and was shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. Joe Mendoza told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday morning that the man appeared to be reaching for something in his pocket while he attempted to flee."The question I keep getting asked is 'Was there a weapon?' and the answer is no," Mendoza said, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. Mendoza said the deputy who fired the shot will be interviewed on Thursday.

A sheriff's spokesman told LAist that the man shot and killed had not been officially identified, but a witness identified the man as Bill Bowers, according to ABC 7. Mendoza said that Bowers was a previous "narcotics offender." Friends of Bowers told ABC 7 that he had a tendency to run from law enforcement because of his previous run-ins with the law.

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A witnesses identified only as Alicia told KTLA that the deputy used excessive force and didn't give Bowers any warning before shooting. "Nothing was said—[they] just shot him," she said.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Editor's note: This story originally identified the victim as "Bill Bauers." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has since confirmed his identity as "William Bowers." The story has been updated.