Sheriff: Video, photos appear to show man was armed before shooting by … – Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials on Sunday displayed photos and a video appearing to show a man holding a gun just before he was fatally shot Saturday by deputies in an incident that has generated debate about police use of force.

Sheriff’s officials said at a news conference that the man, Nicholas Robertson, 28, fired six to seven shots into the air on a residential street before walking into a bustling shopping district on Long Beach Boulevard around 11 a.m.

He entered at least one business on the boulevard, “behaving erratically with gun in hand,” said Capt. Steve Katz of the sheriff’s homicide unit. A video displayed at the news conference showed Robertson on the street appearing to hold the gun as the two deputies arrived.

Katz said “public safety was critical here” because there were people on the street, including some at a gas station that Robertson was walking toward. Robertson at one point pointed the gun in the deputies’ direction and ignored their commands for him to drop the weapon, he said.

The deputies opened fire, and in the video released Saturday, continued to shoot as Robertson was crawling. Authorities said he was continuing to hold the gun at that time. In all, one deputy fired 16 shots and the other fired 17.

Juan Roberto, 18, said he was sweeping the floor inside the pool and banquet room of Chico’s Pizza parlor, across the street from the site of the shooting, on Saturday morning when a man walked in with a gun.

“He was holding a silver semiautomatic handgun on his left hand,” Roberto said. “The gun looked as if it was empty” because the slide, the part of the gun that slides back when fired, appeared to be locked back.

Roberto said the man kept walking and talking loudly before exiting through a side door.

“He sounded angry about something,” Roberto said. “I don’t understand English that much but I know that he wasn’t making sense.”


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