Man shot and killed by sheriff’s SWAT team in Compton

L.A. County sheriff's officials investigate the fatal shooting of a man by a deputy last month in Compton.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A man in Compton was shot and killed by SWAT officers early Thursday during a tense search for two carjacking suspects, at least one of whom opened fire on sheriff’s deputies during a car chase, authorities said.

The fatal shooting occurred near the 800 block of West Stockwell Street. The deceased matched the description of one of the carjacking suspects, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Compton station deputies stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation near 138th Street and Alameda Avenue about 2:30 a.m., authorities said. The deputies discovered the vehicle was stolen earlier that night in South Los Angeles after running the plates. When the deputies called for backup, the driver sped away. That started a chase during which shots were fired at the pursuing deputies.


Attempting to evade police, the suspect drove through the schoolyard at Jefferson Elementary and crashed into multiple fences, said sheriff’s Capt. Steven Katz. The chase ended when the vehicle crashed into the curb in the 13400 block of Compton Avenue.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina told KTLA-TV that once the car was stopped, one suspect exited the vehicle and there was an exchange of gunfire. Several shots struck the deputies’ patrol cruiser, but no deputies were injured.

After the gunman and another suspect escaped into a nearby neighborhood, deputies cordoned off several blocks and created a barricade. The sheriff’s department brought in its Special Enforcement Bureau, special weapons personnel and police dogs.

At some point, the gunman forced himself into a nearby home in the 2000 block of North Slater Avenue, where deputies found him hiding, Katz said. He was taken into custody and was found to match the description of one of the carjacking suspects.

During the search, deputies found another suspect about 5:30 a.m. hiding in someone’s yard, so they called members of the SWAT team to help detain him, the captain said.


The team responded to the 800 block of West Stockwell Street. Authorities said the suspect charged at the deputies. Thinking he was armed, authorities said, they fired shots and killed him.

Katz said it is unclear whether the man was armed. A weapon has not been recovered.

The fatal shooting occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m., 200 to 300 feet from the initial gun battle with deputies, Corina said.

Large sections of the neighborhood remained cordoned off with police tape late Thursday morning.

Standing at the edge of police tape with her aunt and 3-year-old daughter, Brittany Woods said a suspect ran through her backyard. Woods said she was at work at the time, but the rest of her family was taken to the police station for questioning. Her grandmother, who is in hospice care, was left in the home under police supervision.

Woods was agitated because she wanted to get to her grandmother.

“No one in my family knows anything,” she said. “They were even asking my baby questions. I said, why are you trying to question a 3-year-old?”



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1:25 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the shooting.

11:35 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from residents.

This article was originally published at 10 a.m.