Inglewood community residents are outraged that a fifth deputy-involved shooting was reported Wednesday in the 4900 block of West 99th Street which left the victim alive, but wounded. The name of the victim was not released at presstime.
The shooting is the latest in a string of officer-involved shootings that have rocked Inglewood in the past four months.
On Sunday, Eddie Felix Franco, a homeless man, was fatally shot by Inglewood police.
Franco was shot multiple times around 1:47 p.m. after police responded to a report of a man with a gun. Reports indicate that nearly 40 bullets were fired at Franco.
Rodney Phillips, 40, an employee at Woody’s Bar-B-Que on South Market Street, said he called the police because he saw Franco with a gun.
Phillips reported that he was on the phone when Franco, who was not wearing a shirt, leaned on a railing outside the restaurant. Phillips said he saw a gun in the man’s waistband.
According to a witness, “six to eight” police cars converged on the scene. When officers arrived, they found Franco with another man and a dog. According to police, Franco ‘had a chrome handle tucked in his waistband.’”
Lt. Gabriela Garcia described the item carried by the dead man as a “replica of a silver automatic.”
Police ordered Franco and the second man to raise their hands. The second man complied but according to officers, Franco did not.
According to a police statement, “a less lethal weapon was deployed, but was ineffective.” When Franco reached for his waistband, officers fired, killing him and his dog. A man sitting nearby in a car was wounded.
Police Lt. Steve Overly said that “multiple officers were involved and multiple shots were fired.”
Franco was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m. Sunday. Police and city officials refused to disclose details of the confrontation.
Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, who has been under fire in recent months over the controversial shootings, was seen talking to city officials and police after the incident.
Residents who visited at the scene of the slaying on Monday said that they could still see the street stained with Franco’s blood.
Activists and residents held a candlelight vigil in the 400 block of Market Street near Hillcrest Boulevard Tuesday afternoon for Franco. During the candlelight vigil, activists and residents demanded an end to the “senseless” shootings of innocent people in Inglewood.
Indio, California resident Eddie Franco Jr., 32, the slain man’s son, said he was stunned when he heard the way his father was killed. “I think that the number of shots fired at him was excessive,” said Eddie, who said that his father had struggled with an alcohol problem for years. “I lost track of him about three years ago. He may have been homeless in Inglewood, but in Indio my dad had a home and a family,” said the son, who was making funeral arrangements for his father to be buried in Indio. “My father had always been a drifter, but he never had the kind of problems that would justify him being killed the way he was.”
Community activist Morris “Big Money” Griffin said that the community must demand an ongoing investigation into the shootings. “We have some road cops that are trying to get away with cold blooded murder,” said Griffin. “We are ready for an independent federal investigative commission just like the Warren Christopher Commission Report that was released after the civil unrest in 1992. Anything less is uncivilized for us to living in Los Angeles and Inglewood,” said Griffin, who attended the candlelight vigil for Franco and has been in contact with the family.
The Inglewood Police Department is currently under investigation by the district attorney’s office and the Office of Independent Review, a law enforcement agency created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. A spokesman said that the examination of the Inglewood Police Department would cover training, supervision, policy and protocol.
The latest shootings total to five since May, when three people were shot and killed by Inglewood police, including 19-year-old Michael Byoune, who was killed on May 11, 2008; 23-year-old Ruben Walton on July 1 of 2008, Kevin Wicks, 38, on July 21 of 2008.
Wicks was the second victim shot by Police Officer Brian Ragan, who was responding to a report of a family disturbance at Wicks’ apartment complex. Ragan was one of two officers involved in the May 11 shooting death of Byoune.