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One Of Two Men Shot And Killed By Deputies Was Holding A BB Gun, Says Family

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Two men were shot and killed by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies early Sunday morning when authorities say one of the suspects exited their vehicle carrying what appeared to be a handgun. However, family members say it was all a tragic misunderstanding.

The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. in East Los Angeles on the 5300 block of Verona Street after deputies responded to a 911 call from someone who reported that somebody in a passing car pointed a gun at them. Deputies pulled the car over, and ABC 7 reports that both suspects exited the vehicle, with one carrying the alleged handgun. That is when four deputies opened fire and killed both suspects.

The man alleged to be carrying the handgun has been identified as 26-year old Eduardo Bermudez by family members, and they say that Bermudez was carrying a BB gun and not an actual handgun. He had been attending his 3-year old nephew's birthday party earlier that day, and ABC 7 reports there are photos of Bermudez at that party with that BB gun, which apparently could be easily mistaken for a real firearm.

"He was always a happy guy," said Bermudez's cousin.

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Authorities say that they have seized a weapon at the crime scene, but have not confirmed it was a BB gun.

City News Service reports that witnesses say there were four people in the car when the incident took place. According to ABC 7, a reported third suspect is no longer being sought by authorities.

Update [2:10 p.m.]: A sheriff's department press release has confirmed that the alleged handgun was a "replica .45 caliber handgun" and that no other suspects were involved or outstanding. The press release also states that the suspect "started to pull a handgun out of his pants and point it in the direction of the deputies." The investigation remains ongoing.