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Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, 34

Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, a 34-year-old Latino, was shot and killed by police on Sunday, June 2, in the 1600 block of West Redondo Beach Boulevard in Gardena, according to L.A. County coroner’s records.

Gardena police officers responded to a reported robbery at a drugstore in the 15700 block of Western Avenue in Gardena, according to an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department news release.

The caller said that a bicycle had been stolen and two Latinos were involved.

As an officer arrived on the scene, he saw two men on bicycles on Redondo Beach Boulevard coming from the direction where the alleged robbery occurred, the release said. The officer attempted to detain the two men, issuing commands in English and Spanish.

One of the men, according to the department, “behaved strangely and did not follow orders.” As more officers arrived to help,  Diaz-Zeferino, who was not one of the men on the bikes, intervened, placing himself between the officers and the two other men.

Officers asked Diaz-Zeferino to place his hands in the air. According to the officers' account, Diaz-Zeferino instead reached for his waistband and advanced toward the officers. Several of the officers fired at Diaz-Zeferino, striking him in the upper torso.

He died at 2:45 a.m., coroner’s records show.

A sheriff’s investigator told the Daily Breeze that Diaz-Zeferino probably had no connection to the robbery. Gardena police also told the newspaper that an audio recording would be made available in the next few weeks.

Neither the Sheriff’s Department or Gardena police officials would comment to the Daily Breeze on whether Diaz-Zeferino had a weapon. 

An attorney for the Diaz-Zeferino family told the newspaper that he was trying to tell police that the men they had stopped did not commit the crime.

"He was trying to tell the cops that they are not the ones who stole the bicycles,"  Richard Samuel Paz said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the sheriff’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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