Fatal deputy-involved shooting in Cerritos began with suspicious person report

The investigation into the first fatal deputy-involved shooting in Cerritos in nearly a decade continued Friday, with detectives combing a vehicle involved in the shooting for evidence.

The shooting occurred Thursday afternoon in the 17200 block of Pires Avenue, just a couple of blocks away from where the deputy’s investigation began on Beach Street.

Deputies had been called to the area after a resident reported a woman had knocked on her door and asked for someone who didn’t live there. The woman got into a car and left, but the resident took down the license plate and car’s description and gave it to deputies when they arrived to take a report.

Officials say deputies found the car around the corner on Palm Place parked along a curb with the woman standing outside the car.


One deputy detained her while another checked the car, the department said in a news release. The woman was ultimately not arrested and will be a witness to the shooting for investigators, said department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, the shooting occurred shortly after deputies found a man sitting in the driver’s seat of the car where the woman was standing. His seat was reclined, which officials suggest meant he was trying to hide.

The deputy told the man to show his hands, but instead he reached for his waistband and then started the car, the news release said.

“Without warning, the suspect accelerated away from the curb and toward the deputy. The deputy was struck by the vehicle,” the release said.


That’s when the deputy opened fire, officials say. The man was shot but continued to drive and made it to the next street before crashing into a light pole and fire hydrant, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The electric wires touched the water from the hydrant, forcing paramedics and deputies to wait until they could safely get to the man.

The shooting occurred at 4:35 p.m., and Los Angeles County firefighters were dispatched two minutes later, authorities said.

Firefighters arrived at 4:42 p.m. The wounded driver was taken to the hospital at 5:21 p.m., about 40 minutes after the shooting. He was pronounced dead at 5:40 p.m.

The man was 21 years old, the county coroner said. His name was not released because of a security hold from the Sheriff’s Department. Investigators haven’t found a weapon in the car, Nishida said.

The deputy suffered a minor injury, the Sheriff’s Department said.

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

According to L.A. County coroner’s data collected for the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report, law enforcement officials have killed only one other person in Cerritos since January 2000. In the previous incident, officers shot and killed Alfredo Valdivia, 38, after he fatally shot his girlfriend in the parking lot of a Cerritos auto insurance office.


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