LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles police are investigating the shooting death of an unarmed black man by an officer during an “investigative stop” that led to a struggle, a police spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The incident on Monday night in the city’s southern Newton district came two days after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by police in Missouri triggered protests and riots.
The Los Angeles Police Department said the shooting occurred after the suspect allegedly tried to grab an officer’s gun. No officers were hurt in the struggle, and the suspect died in a local hospital of his injuries despite efforts to save his life, the department said.
“The actual struggle occurred because the suspect was going for the officer’s gun,” LAPD Officer Liliana Preciado told Reuters.
The shooting is being probed by the department’s Force Investigation Division, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, the LAPD said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
It did not say what the “investigative stop” was in connection with, and said it was “unknown if the suspect has any gang affiliations.”
Police said they were not immediately identifying the deceased man, but a woman who said she was his mother called local broadcaster KTLA and named him as Ezell Ford, 25.
She said her son had been complying with officers and was lying down when he was shot three times.
Another man who said he was Ford’s cousin told KTLA the deceased man suffered from mental problems. “Every officer in this area, from the Newton Division, knows that,” the man said.
Sympathizers called on social media for a rally on Sunday afternoon at LAPD headquarters, using the hashtag #EzellFord.