LA County Coroner Orders First Inquest in Decades

Cops shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado in the back 5 times
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2020 12:16 PM CST
LA County Coroner Orders First Inquest in Decades
This photo provided by Noe Abarca shows Andres Guardado, who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.   (Courtesy of Noe Abarca via AP, File)

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has ordered an official inquest in the death of a teenager who was shot five times in the back after running away from deputies. The office said in a statement that the inquest, which is being held "in the interest of public transparency," is the first in the county in more than 30 years. The investigation will be overseen by retired Court of Appeals Justice Candace Cooper, CNN reports. The June 18 death of Andres Guardado sparked major protests, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police said Sheriff’s Deputies Miguel Vega and Chris Hernandez chased the teen after seeing him with a handgun outside an auto body shop where he had been working as an unlicensed security guard.

Vega's attorney says Guardado obeyed commands to stop and place the gun on the ground, but reached for the weapon while Vega was trying to handcuff him. The teen's family has filed a lawsuit saying excess force was used and alleging that Vega and Hernandez were members of a gang called the Executioners at the Compton sheriff's station, KTLA reports. A spokeswoman for the coroner's office says the inquest, which begins Nov. 30, will be a "public quasi-judicial inquiry where witnesses may be called and documents may be subpoenaed" so that Cooper can "make findings" into the cause, manner, and circumstances of death. In another unusual move in the case, the coroner defied a police "security hold" in July to release autopsy results that confirmed Guardado was shot in the back five times. The manner of death was listed as homicide. (More Los Angeles stories.)

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