Autopsy results confirm Andres Guardado was shot in the back
The Los Angeles County medical examiner confirmed that 18-year-old Andres Guardado, who was shot and killed by Southern California sheriff’s deputies, was shot five times in the back, as his family had previously said.
Homicide investigators claimed the teenager was shot in the upper torso, however they did not specify where on the torso Guardado was hit.
The report listed Guardado’s death as a homicide.
The release of the autopsy results caused a backlash among officials.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva had put a security hold on the report, but Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Lucas defied that order and released it anyway Friday evening.
“After careful thought and deliberation, I am releasing the autopsy report of Andres Guardado Pineda,” Lucas said in a statement. “In doing so, I have given careful consideration to the major variables in this case — supporting the administration of justice, as well as the public’s right to know. I do not believe that these are mutually exclusive ideals.”
Villanueva criticized the move, which he called “unprecedented.” The sheriff said the release had the potential to jeopardize the case.
“This move will now force the Sheriff’s Department to use court orders to enforce security holds that exist for only one purpose — to prevent tainting witness testimony prior to interviews,” Villanueva said.
Guardado was shot and killed after two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies said they saw him wielding a gun in front of a business and led them on a foot chase. However, Guardado’s family claimed that at the time he was shot, he was working as a security guard for an auto body shop in an unincorporated section of Gardena, California, near where he was shot to death on June 18.
“Guardado reportedly looked toward the deputies, produced a handgun and ran south down the driveway of the business at the location,” Capt. Kent Wegener, head of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau said at a press conference in late June.
He said the deputies chased Guardado on foot and one of them fired six shots at the teenager, hitting him in the torso. Wegener did not specify where on the torso he was hit. Guardado was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
The names of the deputies involved in the incident have not been released.
The autopsy showed that in addition to the shots to the back, Guardado was hit with two graze wounds on his forearms.
Guardado’s sister, Jennifer Guardado, 22, said the gun found at the scene of the shooting did not belong to her brother. She also described the shooting as a “cowardly move” by deputies.
“He couldn’t even see the person that was going to shoot him,” Jennifer Guardado said at a vigil held for her brother near the scene of the killing.
Neither deputy involved were wearing body cameras because, Villanueva said, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have not provided funds for him to equip all officers in his department with the equipment.
His death prompted Congresswomen Nanette Diaz Barragan and Maxine Waters, both Southern California Democrats, to call on state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to conduct a full investigation into the shooting.
“Andres Guardado is the latest young man of color killed by police gunfire,” Barragan and Waters said in their statement. “There must be full transparency so the public can trust the investigation and we know we are getting the truth.”
Guardado’s death came amidst worldwide protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Protesters have called for an end to systemic racism and, in some cases, defunding the police.
Becerra has not yet said if he will conduct an investigation into Guardado’s death. His office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
The deputy who fired his gun will be interviewed by investigators Monday, according to a source familiar with the matter.
ABC News’ Robert Zepeda contributed to this report.