The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after two deputies shot and killed a Black man, identified by family as Dijon Kizzee, on Monday afternoon, prompting protests in Westmont, according to KTLA5.
The fatal encounter started when deputies noticed a man riding a bicycle near 110th Street and Budlong Avenue at around 3 p.m. and attempted to engage him for violating a vehicle code, Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said during a briefing.
Upon noticing the officers, Kizzee got off the bike and started running away from officers, who briefly lost track of him before coming upon him again. Kizzee, who was carrying a bundle of clothes in his hands, is accused of punching one of the deputies before dropping the items. That, according to Dean, was when deputies noticed a black semiautomatic handgun among the items of clothing.
“Our suspect was holding some items of clothing in his hands, punched one of the officers in the face and then dropped the items in his hands,” the lieutenant said. “The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semiautomatic handgun.”
Both deputies started shooting, striking the man multiple times and ultimately killing him at the scene.
“We still have to conduct our interviews of the investigating officers to see exactly what happened and transpired during the deputy-involved shooting,” Dean said. “But if this individual was reaching for a semiautomatic handgun, I would suggest that, you know, that’s probably why deadly force was important.”
It is still not clear what vehicle code Kizzee allegedly broke while riding a bike.
The police shooting prompted protests, with more than 100 people marching to the sheriff’s station on Imperial Highway, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Arlander Givens, 68, who lives in the area where the shooting occurred questioned the officers’ use of force.
“If he reached down to grab it, that’s different,” Givens said. “But if it’s on the ground, why shoot? That means he was unarmed.”