Body camera video shows Fred Williams jumping a fence, holding a gun when he was shot by deputy
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department late Friday released footage of the fatal shooting of Fred Williams III, who was killed during a foot chase in Willowbrook this month in what marked the first deputy shooting captured on department-issued body cameras.
Sheriff’s officials released an 11-minute briefing that included body camera footage, security video and radio communications from the incident. The disclosure came after Williams’ family reviewed the footage with the captain of the Century station, where the deputy involved was assigned. The agency rolled out body cameras there and at four other stations this month.
The footage from Oct. 16 shows Williams, 25, on top of a garden shed, holding a gun while jumping over a fence, before he was shot. During the incident, the deputy broadcast over the radio that Williams “pointed 417 at me,” referring to the firearm.
The man’s father, Fred Williams Jr., said the body camera footage refutes that.
“We see the video, we all see the video, and he was shot in the back,” Williams told The Times on Friday night. “The video clearly shows there was never a gun pointed in [the deputy’s] direction.”
The coroner’s office has not yet completed the full autopsy report but has determined that Williams died by a “gunshot wound of back,” according to its online records.
The Sheriff’s Department said a semiautomatic handgun was recovered by homicide investigators.
A day after the incident, the Sheriff’s Department said Williams “engaged the deputy by pointing his firearm at him.” A summary of the incident posted on the Sheriff’s Department’s website Friday appeared to walk that back, saying “the deputy rounded the corner and encountered [Williams], gun in hand and a deputy involved shooting occurred.”
Chief Matthew Burson said in the recorded briefing released Friday that the department is in the “very early stages of this investigation.”
“Our understanding of the incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed and reviewed,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Department said in the narrative that two deputies assigned to the Century station were conducting a patrol check of Mona Park because of recent shootings in the area when they noticed a group of 10 to 15 people, one of whom was holding a handgun. Williams looked toward the deputies and ran south through a parking lot. One deputy chased after him on foot, and the other followed in a patrol car.
Williams put the pistol in his pocket and ran west on 122nd Street and up a driveway, the Sheriff’s Department said. The deputy followed him up the driveway, while the second deputy circled the block to contain him.
Williams ran through the yard behind the property, climbed on top of a garden shed and was shot, gun in hand, as he jumped a fence into another backyard, the Sheriff’s Department said. The agency said Williams was on parole and prohibited from having a gun.
The shooting came a day after two teenage boys were found shot to death after a car crash in the same neighborhood southeast of downtown L.A., leaving residents there reeling.
The view from Sacramento
For reporting and exclusive analysis from bureau chief John Myers, get our California Politics newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.