The Killing of Andres Guardado. Murder or Justified?

Andres Guardado killed by deputies
Andres Guardado – family photo

Another Person Killed by Police

I would like to give you information about what initially happened but everything in the killing of Andres Guardado, by a Los Angeles County deputy, Miguel Vega, on June 18, is in question. The following is what we do know:

Andres Guardado was 18 years old when he was killed. He was a Salvadoran-American. He was working at a body shop as an informal security guard to discourage taggers. Guardado was not a licensed security guard. Andres was speaking to two women when police drove past then stopped. Andres ran onto the business property and down a side alley. He was shot five times in the back. A sixth bullet grazed his arm. The autopsy found that Mr. Guardado did not have alcohol or drugs in his system. L.A. County deputies do not wear body cameras. Law enforcement confiscated all cameras and video from the body shop immediately after the shooting. The Sheriff’s Department still has not released the Medical Examiner’s report.

What Deputies Say About the Shooting

According to Deputy Vega, Andres Guardado “flashed” a gun then ran. According to the CBS News article, “Marangell said when deputies stopped Guardado and tried to handcuff him, the teen “unmistakably” tried to grab his firearm. “At this point Deputy Vega had no choice but to redraw his weapon and fire in self-defense,” Marangell said.” Marangell is Attorney Adam Marangell who is representing the deputy who shot Guardado, Deputy Miguel Vega.

There is very little information coming out of the Sheriff’s Department. They said none of the cameras captured any of the event. I can believe that of the actual shooting since it appears to have happened at the end of the alley but how about when Guardado was talking to the women in front of the building then turned and ran? It would seem that the cameras could have shown if he had a gun, which is in despute. And we don’t have any real information from the deputy who shot Guardado. Deputy Miguel Vega has refused to give a statement.

What Witnesses Say About the Shooting

Then you have the witnesses and a completely different story. According to them, Guardado got scared when the two officers jumped out of the vehicle and he ran onto the property and down the side alley. Since he had been working there for a 1 1/2 years, we can safely assume that he knew the alley was a dead end and that there was no way to get out. This adds to the credibility of his actions being flight due to fear. The witnesses said that when Guardado got to the end of the alley he got down on his knees and put his hands up in the air. They say that regardless of his position, he was shot in the back multiple times. The witnesses also say that Guardado was unarmed. That’s very concerning. If it’s true, it means that the officers planted a weapon. The owner of the body shop said that officers went into his business and confiscated the security DVDs and attempted to tear out the outside cameras. He said later, they came back with a warrant to take those items though they had already done so without a warrant. You can see his statement on the video below.

Police Brutality

So where are we in this case? The Sheriff’s Department is hiding information which is naturally causing suspicion. Guardado’s family and friends say he was a sweet person who was not involved in gangs but family and friends are often biased. The owner of the shop said he was a hard worker. None of that leaves us with very much to work with so we have to back to the injuries to his body. Andres Guardado was shot five times in the back. IN THE BACK. That means he was turned away from the officers. How could he, Vega, be in fear for his life when Guardado wasn’t even facing him? Then there’s the second officer. He didn’t shoot at all. Why not? If this was such a deadly situation, why didn’t he feel the need to fire his weapon?

The Sheriff’s Office is not releasing the M.E.’s report. One would think that report would let us know what angle the bullets were traveling when they entered Andres’ body and help us to know if Vega was standing and shot a man who was kneeling. You would also think that report would let us know how close Vegas was to Andres when the shots were fired. But again, that information is not being released.

Information may come out to explain/clarify those questions but as it stands now it appears the killing of Andres Guardado was another case of excessive force by police.

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