A coroner’s office inquest by the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office upheld its earlier conclusion that the death of Andres Guardado, who was shot five times in the back by a sheriff’s deputy, was a homicide.
CNN reports that the inquest, the first in Los Angeles County in more than 30 years, concluded that “the medical cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.” It inferred “the manner of death was by the hands of another person other than by accident,” according to the four-page report written by retired Judge Candace D. Cooper.
Police gunned down the 18-year-old as the nationwide protests that occurred after George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police officers raged. On June 18, Guardado was pursued by sheriff’s deputies after allegedly displaying a handgun. According to the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, Guardado fled from an auto body shop after looking at the deputies. Attorney’s for his family despite the police department’s claims.
The family ordered an independent autopsy, and in July, the autopsy found Guardado was shot five times in the back. The findings by the county coroner’s office echoed the independent autopsy’s findings. Guardado’s cause of death was a homicide.
On November 10, the county coroner’s officer called for the inquest “in the interest of public transparency,” after questions arose about excessive force. The inquest was held on November 30, and the findings were forwarded to the district attorney and sheriff’s department for review.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Miguel Vega, the officer who fired the deadly shots, submitted a declaration. He indicated “that if he were to appear and be questioned at the inquest, he would assert his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.”
In December, the sheriff’s department announced that Vega was taken off the force over an investigation that arose from a separate incident in April.