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East Los Angeles, CA

Sheriff Villanueva expresses 'grave concerns' over deadly shooting by deputies caught on bodycam


Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Friday expressed "grave concerns'' about the shooting by deputies of a knife-wielding 34-year-old man in the midst of a mental health crisis, a killing that was captured on videotape and prompted a federal lawsuit from the man's family.

David Ordaz Jr. was shot and killed in East Los Angeles on the afternoon of March 14 after family members called for help during an incident in which the man was holding a kitchen knife.

In a statement, Villanueva wrote that deputies had responded to a call of a man with a knife "who was under the influence of drugs and wanted to commit 'suicide by cop.'''

Also Friday, the sheriff's department released footage from body-worn cameras showing several deputies shoot and kill Ordaz as family members stood in the front yard of their home a few feet away. Footage of the shooting taken by a pedestrian was previously posted on YouTube.

"I want to clearly state I have grave concerns regarding this deputy involved shooting,'' Villanueva wrote. "One of the deputies has been relieved of duty and their peace officer powers have been suspended, pending the outcome of this investigation.''

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The sheriff wrote that the results of an internal investigation will be submitted to Los Angeles County prosecutors, who will "determine the legality of the shooting. Additionally, the investigation will be shared with the Los Angeles FBI Field Office for their review.''

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the Ordaz family Thursday alleges that deputies used unjustifiable lethal force when they shot and killed Ordaz. After the filing, an LASD spokeswoman said the department would not comment on pending litigation.

Videotapes of the shooting show Ordaz initially being hit with non-lethal rounds. Deputies allege Ordaz lunged at them, prompting lethal force, according to the complaint for wrongful death and civil rights violations.

"In fact, the coroner's report shows that all of the bullets except two, struck him on the back and on the side and the final bullet as visualized in the video shows a helpless David Ordaz Jr. looking up from the pavement without any weapon, and the killing shot was fired into his chest,'' the lawsuit alleges.

Body camera footage indicates that at least 10 rounds were fired, including a single shot fired immediately after the flurry of gunfire had stopped and Ordaz was lying face up on the sidewalk, holding his shoulder.

Comments / 261

Michael Antonio

The funny thing is that I can play just as many videos of controversial videos of white people being killed by the police. But as black people we always want to bring race to the forefront. Also, shooting someone in the arm or leg is not easily executed. Most people even fail at hitting a target center mass. Tasers don't work like you think. The prongs that shoot out are not accurate or get stuck in thick fabric of clothing rendering in obsolete. But since you got it all figured out, why don't you join your local police department and show them how it should be done. It's easy to criticize the police while sitting in the comforts of your safe life.


He was on a mission... His family knew it... Im sure he was suffering for quite awhile.. His family didnt help him.. But wants a payday now...

james bagos

All but two bullets fired found their mark, that’s pretty good shot placement I’d say. Their range training officer needs to be commended, no casualties other than the intended target.


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