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Sheriff's deputy who killed armed man fired his weapon multiple times

November 9, 2010 |  2:55 pm

The Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who fatally shot an armed 21-year-old man during a foot pursuit fired his weapon multiple times, a department official said Tuesday.

Robert Lewis Thomas, 21, had fled when the deputies approached a group of people who were drinking in front of a residence about 10:15 p.m. Monday near the intersection of 123rd Street and Wilmington Avenue in Willowbrook, said Lt. David Dolson.

Thomas was a local gang member, Dolson said.

The deputies initially approached the group because people were drinking in the lawn area of a residence, but then noticed Thomas acting suspiciously, Dolson said.

Thomas ran from the deputies into the driveway of a nearby residence, where he came to a locked chained-link fence. He turned around and faced the deputies while holding  a handgun, Dolson said. One deputy fired “multiple rounds,” striking the man, he said.

Thomas, who did not fire his weapon, was pronounced dead at a hospital, Dolson said.

The department is investigating the circumstances of the shooting and have yet to determine exactly how many rounds were fired or how many times Thomas was shot, Dolson said.

After the shooting, Thomas’ sister was arrested on suspicion of battery against a peace officer, Dolson said.

-- Stephen Ceasar

Click to learn more about other officer involved killings in Los Angeles County. Since January 2007, at least 144 people have been killed by law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County, according coroner's data. Learn more about the cases on The Times' interactive Homicide Report.