A black man was brutally shot by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies. On Sunday, in response to questions raised regarding the reason why deputies resumed to fire on the man even when he fell to the pavement they said that the man kept holding a gun as he lay dying on the ground.
A close-up from security footage revealed that the 28-year-old Nicholas Robertson laid stretched out on the ground with a gun in his hand. He died at the scene Saturday morning in the South Los Angeles suburb of Lynwood.
Two deputies fired 33 bullets at the man after he refused to drop the gun and walked across a busy street to a filling station where a family was pumping gas, homicide Capt. Steven Katz said. “When he collapsed, his arms were underneath him, and the gun was still in his hand. There was never a time when the weapon was not in his possession,” Katz said.
Police confronted Robertson while they investigated 911 calls from witnesses who saw a man firing a gun into the air. Witnesses said Robertson was walking down a residential street and then through a busy commercial area holding the weapon and acting strangely. Witnesses also reported to the authorities that Robertson had fired six to seven rounds and briefly went into a car wash and a pizza parlor prior to when the deputies arrived.
A video which was made from a cellphone went viral and was casted on several media sites. Apparently it showed that deputies were firing about two dozen bullets, including several rounds after Robertson falls and is crawling on the ground. “They shot him in his shoulder, and he was crawling,” Pamela Brown, Robertson’s mother-in-law, told Los Angeles television station KCAL. “He left three kids behind, two daughters and a son. What, they could have Tasered him or anything.”
Robertson’s wife refused to speak with the Associated Press. She only provided a photo of their children. Earlier, she told the Los Angeles Times that her husband was a stay-at-home father who was never involved in any sort of criminal activities. “Anytime you see him, you see him with the kids,” Nekesha Robertson said. “He’d take them to and from school. Help them with homework. He’s a daddy – that’s his job. He didn’t do nothing else.”
Relatives said the shooting was unjustified and that Robertson may not have heard the deputies’ call to drop the gun. “This man never turned at you and looked at you or pointed the gun at you. Nothing,” said Nekesha Robertson’s cousin, Monica Reddix. “What they did yesterday was point-blank murder.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell assured and said that the investigation into Robertson’s death would be handled “with the utmost professionalism and integrity” and urged anyone with information to come forward.
“In this modern age of cellphone video and instant analysis on the Internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time intensive,” he said in a statement. “It will involve, not just one source of information, but numerous sources, potentially including multiple videos, physical evidence and eyewitness accounts.”