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Off-duty L.A. County sheriff's deputy kills suspected burglar in Azusa [Updated]

June 9, 2010 | 12:39 pm

An off-duty sheriff's deputy fatally shot a suspected burglar early Wednesday in Azusa.

The deputy was driving through the parking lot of an apartment complex in Azusa at 2 a.m. when he spotted a man and a woman who looked like they were preparing  to burglarize a home or a car, said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.

The deputy told sheriff’s homicide investigators that he approached the pair and identified himself as an officer. When he ordered the male suspect to put his hands up, the suspect instead reached for his waistband, Coleman said.

Fearing that it was a gun, the officer shot him once, killing him.

No gun was found afterward, Coleman said, and the woman and the officer were not injured. The victim was believed to be a Latino in his mid 20s, Coleman said.

The deputy's name was not released by the department, but Coleman said he was assigned to the West Hollywood sheriff's station.

[Updated at 2 p.m.: Since January 2007, there have been six homicides in Azusa, none within two miles of Daybreak Drive and Morningside Court where Wednesday's officer-involved shooting took place, according to data collected for The Times' interactive Homicide Report.

Over the same time period, law enforcement officers have shot and killed at least 127 people in Los Angeles County, according to coroner's data, which defines homicide as any death at the hand of another. One man died of a heart attack after officers used a Taser to subdue him.]

-- Kate Linthicum