A Los Angeles community is in turmoil after local police officers fatally shot 28-year-old Nicholas Robertson a reported 33 times on Saturday morning.
According to the New York Times, police arrived on the scene after receiving reports of a man carrying a gun. Bystander cell phone footage shows two officers, who have not been named but are reportedly Hispanic, ordering Robertson to drop his weapon. Robertson is walking away when the officers open fire. As he collapses and attempts to crawl away, officers continue shooting, discharging 33 rounds, though it is unclear how many struck Robertson. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A gun was allegedly found by his body.
“We showed he had a weapon in his hand throughout the whole encounter,” County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at a press conference. “There is going to be criticism any time there’s a deputy-involved shooting. We’ve seen that particularly in the last two years or so. That’s why we came out today to try to be as transparent as we can.”
Since the shooting, dozens of peaceful protestors have gathered at the scene. Lanny Mason, Robertson’s uncle, told the Times that his nephew was married and had three children.
“[The police were] wrong,” Mason said. “That child was crawling for his life. It looked like they were doing target practice on him…We’re not going to let this go unpunished. If we have to protest, we’re going to do what we have to do.”
The shooting is currently under investigation. The two officers involved have been reassigned to other units.