Andres Guardado died on June 18 , 2020 when a Los Angeles deputy shot him in the back multiple times alleging he was trying to grab a gun. Now a coroner’s office inquest into his death has confirmed he was shot multiple times in the back and killed in Gardena. Retired Justice Candace Parker heard the case and closed the inquest without hearing from the deputies involved or two detectives who investigated. Parker’s findings mention that Guardado’s death was not an accident and came “by the hands of another.”
The family requested an autopsy that revealed he had no drugs or alcohol in his system and that he died from the gun shots to the back. “Our son did not deserve to die this way,” his parents, Cristobal and Elisa Guardado, said in a statement. “Andres was a good boy, he was our son and he had so much life ahead of him.” The family ordered the autopsy because of the security hold, which Sheriff Alex Villanueva said was a necessity to avoid influencing witness testimonies, LAist reported.
“This is the first time the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has released a security hold on a case, absent court intervention, against the wishes of the requestor of the hold,” coroner spokesperson Sarah Ardalani told LAist in an email.
Deputy Miguel Vega, who opened fire, did not attend the proceeding saying he would invoke the fifth amendment. Deputy Chris Hernandez, who didn’t shoot, as well as two homicide detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who were assigned to investigate Guardado’s death repeatedly refused to answer questions, saying that under advice from counsel they were invoking their Fifth Amendment rights, NBC News reported.
In September, whistleblower Deputy Art Gonzalez testified that more than a dozen deputies have matching tattoos that identify them as “Executioners” and Vega was a prospective member, Spectrum 1 News reported. He stated that Vega wanted to be part of the gang that’s allegedly part of the Compton Sheriff’s station.
“There are parties after shootings. They call them ‘998 parties.’ Some people say it’s to celebrate the deputy is alive. Others say it’s to celebrate that they’re going to be ‘inking’ somebody.” He added, “I now call them a gang because that’s what gangs do – they beat up other people.”
The findings “confirmed what we knew all along,” Cristobal and Elisa said in a statement released by the family’s attorneys:
“We now call upon District Attorney Gascón to do what the Sheriff’s Department has not, and that is to take action and hold these deputies accountable for their criminal actions … Our family will not rest until we have justice for Andres.”