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Man Shot And Killed By Sheriff's Deputy Was Not A Carjacking Suspect

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A unarmed, 27-year-old man shot and killed by a deputy in Compton last month was not involved in a carjacking, as deputies previously believed.

Donnell Thompson Jr., 27, was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy on July 28 at about 5:30 a.m. Deputies initially identified Thompson as one of two carjacking suspects, one of whom opened fire on deputies. Now, a release from the sheriff's department states that investigators "have determined that there is no evidence that Mr. Thompson was in the carjacked vehicle, nor that he was involved in the assault on the deputies."

That morning at about 2:30 a.m., deputies stopped a driver near West 133rd Street and North Slater Avenue and determined that the car he was driving was stolen, according to the Press Telegram. The driver sped away and led police on a chase, later crashing the car and running away on foot. Members of the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau searched the area and eventually located and arrested the alleged car thief in the 2000 block of Slater Avenue, where he had forced his way into a home in order to hide. During the chase, the suspect shot at deputies, hitting their patrol car. Investigators later learned that the car involved in the chase had been stolen in a carjacking in South L.A.

While deputies were searching for the alleged carjacker, police also received a 9-1-1 call in which the caller said a man was lying in his yard. Deputies responded to the call and located the man in the 800 block of Stockwell Street, later identified as Thompson. According to the sheriff's department's statement, Thompson was "lying in a position that concealed one of his hands from view and was unresponsive to numerous commands. There was concern that he may be armed, and may be connected to the carjacking suspect who had fired on deputies."

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The statement claims that when Thompson finally stood up, he "charged at deputies who had come to assist the resident." One deputy, believing him to be armed, shot and killed him. Investigators did not find a weapon on the scene, and at the time Thompson was shot, the alleged carjacker had already been taken into custody. The deputy who shot Thompson is currently on non-field duties while the case is under investigation.

Thompson's family held a press conference in downtown Los Angeles today. Dawn Modkins of Black Lives Matter Long Beach told ABC 7 that Thompson was a very quiet man with a diminished mental capacity. She said his family thinks he probably decided to lie down because he was scared.

“[His family wants] public apologies. They want an apology for criminalizing him, for devaluing him before they knew who he was.”