The Los Angeles Police department identified three officers involved in the March 1 fatal shooting of Charly Keunang, a homeless man living in L.A.’s Skid Row neighborhood. Keunang’s death prompted criticism from rights groups and locals who called it overly violent and unnecessary.
Sgt. Chand Syed and Officers Francisco Martinez and Daniel Torres all fired their weapons during the incident, according to KABC-TV, and were put on leave for the duration of the investigation. The officers were responding to a robbery call in Skid Row, a neighborhood known for its large homeless population. One officer, currently unidentified, attempted to subdue Keunang with a Taser, but he continued to resist arrest. Keunang reached for one of the officer’s firearms, according to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.
“At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer’s weapons occurred. At that point an officer-involved shooting happened,” Smith said, before saying the LAPD was committed to a “thorough and complete investigation.”
The shooting occurred as officers had Keunang on the ground. One of the officers is heard saying “drop the gun” twice before five shots were fired, according to the Los Angeles Times. One of the officers was wearing a body camera, but that footage has not been released by the LAPD. An unedited video of the shooting is below, it was first posted on Facebook by the bystander who shot it. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES AND LANGUAGE.
Keunang was known as Africa on the streets, was from Cameroon and had been in the neighborhood for about four or five months, according to USA TODAY. He was convicted of armed robbery during a Thousand Oaks bank robbery attempt in 2013 but was not deported because of an issue with Cameroonian officials. He had reportedly been fighting with someone in his sidewalk tent before the altercation with the five officers. The struggle with them began when he refused their requests to exit the tent.