A man in his 40s was mortally wounded by deputy gunfire in the Ladera Heights area, authorities said.
The shooting occurred at 11:05 p.m. Tuesday in the 5000 block of Slauson Avenue, said Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Deputies from the Marina Del Rey Station were called to a 24 Hour Fitness in that area at 8:35 p.m. to deal with a man acting erratically, sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza told reporters at the scene. The man was escorted out of the business and initially complied, but deputies were called a second time because of the man’s behavior.
Deputies returned around 10:45 p.m. to find the man causing a disturbance.
“The suspect was uncooperative and became aggressive towards the deputies,” Alexander said, prompting one of the deputies to use a stun gun on the suspect with no effect.
The suspect began to walk away and the deputies followed him a short distance, giving him orders that he did not comply with, she said.
The suspect remained uncooperative and removed hair clippers from his backpack and began to swing it over his head, Alexander said.
A stun gun was used again but the suspect continued to swing the weapon over his head and “aggressively move toward one of the deputies,” which is when the deputy-involved shooting occurred, Alexander said.
The suspect was struck at least once in the upper body and transported to a local hospital where he died.
According to Mark James, a college athlete at Santa Monica College, the deceased was a regular at the gym and he recalls seeing the man shadow boxing and working out with dumbells.
“His usual behavior consisted of babbling to himself, or talking loud, his verbal aggression wasn’t focused towards anyone,” said James. “It was almost as if his behavior became a part of the tone at 24 Hour Fitness, and members would just stare at him and laugh.”
James believes no one ever felt threatened by him, but also believes that African Americans have a higher tolerance for this type of behavior, based on the large amount of homeless individuals we have in South Los Angeles with mental issues.
Jason Miles, a TSA officer at LAX remembers being assigned adjacent lockers with the deceased on two occasions. He recalls seeing a deputy putting on a bullet proof vest as he left the gym but wasnt aware of the altercation. He saw the victim earlier that evening “staring into space” but never felt threatened by him.