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LA County Agrees To Pay $3.75M To Family Of 16-Year-Old Fatally Shot By Sheriff's Deputy

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Anthony Weber was fatally shot by an L.A. County sheriff's deputy Feb. 2, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Juris Productions, Inc.)
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The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted in closed session Tuesday to pay $3.75 million to the family of a 16-year-old who was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy on Super Bowl Sunday in 2018.

The payment settles a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Anthony Weber, but it leaves unsettled a dispute between his relatives and the sheriff's department over whether Weber was armed when he was shot.

The killing of Weber in South L.A. sparked angry protests and attracted national attention. It also prompted the nascent Sheriff's Civilian Oversight Commission to conduct its first -- and only -- emergency town hall. It ended abruptly with sheriff's officials and members of Weber's family inches apart yelling at each other.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2018, two deputies responded to a 911 call from a driver who reported that someone had walked into the middle of 107th Street and pointed a gun at him, according to a county counsel report to the Board of Supervisors that summarized the investigation by the sheriff's homicide bureau.

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When they arrived, the deputies walked down the driveway of a nearby apartment complex known as a gang hangout and peered through a large opening in a wooden fence, according to the report. That's where they saw Weber "wearing similar clothing" to the reported gunman.

They "could clearly see" a handgun in his waistband, the summary said.

Considering it was nighttime, the level of detail given by one deputy of the gun was unusual. He said it was a Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistol with black Talon grips and a red dot sight. That's important because the gun wasn't recovered until weeks after the shooting.

The deputies climbed through the fence and chased Weber down a short hallway and into a courtyard. At that point, Weber turned around, looked at one deputy "as if he was acquiring a target," and reached for his waistband, according to the summary.

The lead deputy fired 13 times at Weber, striking him several times. Weber died at the scene. The other deputy did not shoot.

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The deputies reported an angry crowd prevented them from securing the scene for 30 minutes. Investigators almost immediately speculated someone grabbed the gun during the chaos -- a theory then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell repeated on KPCC's AirTalk five days after the shooting.

"Until you are at one of these scenes, you don't have an appreciation for just how chaotic they get, how dangerous potentially," McDonnell said.

The department described Weber as a gang member. His family said he may have been associated with a gang but was not a hardened criminal. All along his relatives have argued he never had a gun.

The county counsel's report said the 911 caller "positively identified" Weber as the person who pointed a gun at him. It also said tests found "many characteristic particles of gunshot residue" on Weber's hands and waistband.

The summary by county counsel said a social media video posted two days earlier depicted a known gang member with a Smith & Wesson M&P pistol with a silver threaded barrel and a holographic red dot sight.

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After several search warrants, investigators recovered that weapon. The report called it similar to the one the deputy described seeing on Weber and said witnesses at the location said it belonged to Weber.