Days after half brother is found hanging in tree, man is fatally shot amid kidnap probe
Police cars crowd a Rosamond, Calif., street where deputies fatally shot a man.(KTLA)
The half brother of Robert Fuller, a young Black man who was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale last week, was killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies during a shootout Wednesday afternoon in Kern County, according to law enforcement sources and an attorney for the family.
The fatal shooting of Terron Boone, 31, occurred about 4:30 p.m. in a parking lot in Rosamond, a community about 20 miles north of Palmdale. The killing came as activists and community members had been openly critical of how Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies handled the investigation into Fuller’s death.
Lt. Robert Westphal said authorities were investigating a report from Monday that Boone had pistol-whipped and threatened a former girlfriend. Westphal said Boone allegedly held the woman, with whom he had had an on-and-off relationship for years, at her residence.
When asked about a connection with Robert Fuller’s death, Westphal said he did not have information about Boone’s motivations and that “so far this is a standalone incident.”
Court records show that Boone had been charged Tuesday with multiple criminal counts including six counts of making criminal threats, four counts of abusing a cohabitant, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.
Westphal said that on Wednesday afternoon undercover detectives trailed a blue SUV that the suspect was riding in and followed it to an apartment complex in Rosamond. The deputies attempted a traffic stop. Boone exited the car’s passenger side and began shooting, firing at least five shots toward the detectives and striking the police vehicle’s hood and roof, Westphal said.
Three detectives returned fire and shot him multiple times in the chest, killing him, Westphal said.
Robert Fuller’s family remembers a ‘survivor,’ demands truth over his hanging death
The woman driving the car, who had a prior relationship with Boone, was shot once in the chest and taken to a local hospital, where she was treated and released Wednesday night. Her 7-year-old daughter was in the car’s back seat but was not injured in the gunfire, Westphal said.
Detectives recovered a semiautomatic handgun at the scene.
None of the detectives nor their vehicles were equipped with cameras, but investigators are trying to recover footage from Ring cameras and other home video systems in the area, Westphal said.
Surveillance video of the incident posted by the Rosamond Community Watchdog, a local news platform, showed multiple vehicles trailing a dark SUV into a housing complex parking lot. Voices repeatedly shouted, “Hands up!” before gunfire erupted.
Westphal said details of an investigation were still pending.
Meanwhile, several men who identified themselves as acquaintances of Boone set up a memorial Thursday morning in the parking lot where he was killed. They arranged dozens of candles in the shape of the initials “T.J.” next to a bouquet of flowers. The woman who was driving the car, who identified herself as Boone’s fiancee but did not give her name, sat on steps nearby and wept.
Several friends described Boone as a positive person and “fashion junkie” who was uplifting people with his hip-hop music.
“It was always good every time he pulled up with his music real loud,” said Patrick Dennis, a 34-year-old resident of Lancaster.
Nyki Walker, 29, said she used to date Boone and had remained friends with him. She said he was a caring father who was pursuing his path as an artist, having recorded singles and music videos under the name TJ Goon.
“Terron was the sweetest guy I’ve ever dated, and he meant a lot to our community. A true soldier, a true friend and angel,” she said.
Walker said Boone had been close to his brother Robert Fuller and had been upset about Fuller’s death.
Siara Anderson said she was on the balcony of an apartment building adjacent to the parking lot in the 3400 block of 15th Street West when Boone was shot. Anderson said she heard four or five gunshots and saw a man slumped in the passenger seat of a blue sport utility vehicle, clearly dead.
Law enforcement officers, in plainclothes but wearing bulletproof vests, were at the scene, she said, along with about five unmarked police cars.
Jamon Hicks, the attorney representing the Fuller family, said relatives and the legal team had no further comment on the incident.
“The family respectfully asks that their privacy be respected. Our prayers remain with the Fuller family,” Hicks said in a statement.
Fuller’s death became the focus of national attention, coinciding with huge protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
Fuller was discovered hanging from a tree in a Palmdale park on June 10, and the initial cause of death was listed as suicide. But after protests, sheriff’s officials said they would do a full investigation, with assistance from the FBI and state attorney general.
Thousands protested this weekend at the park, with some describing racial incidents in the Antelope Valley and raising concerns over whether Fuller was lynched.
“This is really crazy to all of us,” Fuller’s sister Diamond Alexander said. “We want to find out the truth of what really happened. Everything that they’ve been telling us has not been right.
“To be here, staring at this tree, it don’t make no sense,” Alexander added. “My brother was not suicidal. My brother was a survivor.”
Fuller’s family and friends described him as a peacemaker, a street-smart man with shoulder-length dreadlocks and a bright smile who loved music, anime and video games and mostly stayed to himself. Days before he died, he attended a Black Lives Matter protest.
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