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Sheriff's deputy shoots suspect in East L.A.; third incident of weekend

July 12, 2009 | 12:28 pm


A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy shot and wounded a man Saturday night in East Los Angeles, the third deputy-involved shooting of the  weekend.

Authorities said the suspect pointed a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun at the deputy after a chase that ended about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of South Townsend Avenue. The deputy shot the man in the chest.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department. He's listed in stable condition and will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, authorities said.

The two other shootings occurred Friday night.

Authorities said deputies were called to the 11200 block of Berendo Avenue in unincorporated Athens at 8:45 p.m. Friday after someone reported that a man with a gun had threatened her and their child.

Deputies saw a man matching the description driving about a block west of Imperial Highway and Vermont Avenue. The man fled after officers stopped his vehicle, and officers shot him multiple times after they "saw what they believed to be a weapon in the suspect's hand," authorities said. A weapon was found inside the man's car. He was declared dead at the scene.

Relatives and local civil rights leaders identified the deceased man as Woodrow Player Jr., 22, and said he had been affiliated with the East Coast Crips, served time in prison on a drug charge and was on parole when he was shot. Player's wife, 24-year-old Tyisha Player, said he was acquitted of a murder charge last year and had begun to turn his life around, including attending church and studying for his GED.

The civil rights leaders called for a federal investigation of the shooting. One witness, 35-year-old Shendall Duncan of Athens, said she saw deputies shoot Player three times in the back. Player attempted to keep running and was shot again, Duncan said.

Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, promised a thorough review of the shooting and said "the suspect reached for his waistband and turned toward deputies."

"They, thinking they were going to be shot at, fired," Whitmore said.

About two hours after Player's shooting, a sheriff's deputy shot at a man near the intersection of East Florence and Compton Avenues. According to a news release from the Sheriff's Department, deputies stopped a vehicle for suspected traffic violations about 10:40 p.m. Friday and detained three occupants "when a fourth occupant, the front passenger, produced a small-caliber handgun."

A deputy shot once at the man and missed him. The man, identified as 23-year-old Maynor Guerra, ran away and tossed the gun before he was arrested, authorities said.

Last Sunday, 16-year-old Avery Cody Jr. was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy who had stopped and questioned him in Compton. Authorities said Cody had a loaded handgun when he was shot, but an attorney for Cody's  family said the teen did not brandish a weapon and posed "no threat" to deputies or anyone else.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: Family and friends join in a prayer led by Eddie Jones of the LA Civil Rights Assn. across the street where Woodrow Player Jr., 22, was killed the night before near the corner of Berendo and Imperial Highway. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times