Residents in the South Los Angeles-area neighbourhood of Willowbrook are demanding answers in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by sheriff’s deputy in the area.
Ryan Twyman, a 24-year-old father of three, was shot dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex at San Pedro and 132nd streets on the evening of June 6, local media KTLA reports.
The sheriff’s department said in a statement that Twyman was sitting in a white sedan with another person in the parking lot about 7.30 pm when the sheriff’s deputies approached him.
“During the contact, a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the department said in a statement.
Twyman was pronounced dead at the scene. He was still inside a vehicle when he died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to coroner’s officials. It is being reported that Twyman was shot about 37 times although the sheriff’s department is yet to release details about the number of times he was shot. It also remains unclear what caused the shooting.
However, some witnesses say they remember seeing two deputies approach Twyman’s parked vehicle before shooting several times.
“The police opened the door, and said he had a gun and just started shooting. Never asked him his name — nothing. Just started shooting,” a witness, who did not give his name told KTLA.
Another witness said the deputies did not say much before they started shooting: “One officer goes up to the door, starts firing, never identified himself as the police … still unloading on the car 30 rounds.”
Twyman was killed three days after his 24th birthday, and his family, activists with the NAACP, and friends on social media want answers.
Currently, authorities have launched investigations into the matter while confirming that no weapon was found at the scene. Brian Dunn, an attorney representing Twyman’s family, said there will be a lawsuit filed alleging law enforcement officials violated Twyman’s civil rights.
“What we want is for this type of random killing to stop,” Dunn said.
Paulette Gibson, president of the Compton chapter of the NAACP, told KTLA that she had spoken with multiple law enforcement officials about the shooting, adding that the deputies involved in the shooting were from that location.
“We’re tired of this happening over and over and over but our goal at the NAACP is to make sure it’s investigated properly,” Gibson said.
Twyman left behind three young sons and a girlfriend.
On the same night of his killing, two other men were also fatally shot by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. Twyman’s shooting has reignited talks about the spate of killings of unarmed black men by law enforcement authorities in recent times.
This February, there was outrage in California after police shot dead a 20-year-old aspiring rapper, Willie McCoy, who had been sleeping in his car at a Taco Bell. Police said he had reached for a gun first, but his family retorted that McCoy was only waking up when he was shot.
Last November, there was another outrage after a white police officer shot to death a black security guard while he was stopping a shooting suspect at a bar. The 26-year-old security guard, Jemel Roberson, had caught a man who allegedly fired a gun inside a Robbins, Illinois, bar when he was shot by the Chicago police officer who was responding to calls from a neighbouring community.
Earlier in September, a white cop who killed a black man in his own home was arrested on a manslaughter charge. Amber Guyger, 30, was off-duty when she shot Botham Shem Jean in his house.
Reports said Guyger arrived at their apartment block, South Side Flats in Dallas, and ‘mistakenly’ went to Jean’s apartment thinking it was hers. When her key did not work, Jean opened the door and was fatally shot.