On Tuesday (Nov. 9), the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner announced that it is conducting an independent inquest into the cause of death of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado. The teenager was fatally shot by LA County Sheriff deputies in June after they allegedly spotted him with a gun in front of an auto body shop and he tried to run away.
In July, the Coroner’s office defied the Sheriff’s department by releasing Guardado’s autopsy report despite Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s request to keep their findings confidential while they internally investigated. This was the first time in over thirty years that the coroner’s office broke from the Sheriff’s request in over thirty years. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas called for the inquest in September, two months after the coroner released its findings that Guardado was shot in the back five times.
A spokesperson for the medical examiner said the inquest is a “public quasi-judicial inquiry where witnesses may be called and documents may be subpoenaed in order to inquire into the cause, manner, and circumstances of death.”
The sheriff’s department insists that they are “committed to transparency” and “invites the process of a Medical Examiner’s inquest.”
A law firm representing Guardado’s family released a similar independent autopsy report soon after the coroner released theirs with similar findings. The family has repeatedly stated that Guardado was working as a security guard at the auto body shop, a job that, according to the sheriff’s office states that Guardado wasn’t licensed for because he was not 21 years old, which is the minimum age requirement in California to be a security guard.
The case is still pending.