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Antoine D. Hunter, 24

Antoine D. Hunter, a 24-year-old black man, was shot and killed in a confrontation with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies Tuesday, June 24, near North Poinsettia Avenue and East Palmer Street in Compton, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

About 9:51 p.m., deputies attempted to stop Hunter’s gold sedan after they noticed that the car was being driven recklessly, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez with the Sheriff’s Department.

Hunter and a 24-year-old friend had just left a vigil in the area for a friend who died of a pulmonary disease.

After a brief pursuit, the car stopped at an intersection and attempted a turn onto North Poinsettia Avenue from East Palmer; then it collided with another vehicle, Hernandez said.

Deputies got out of their car and began to shout commands when the car backed up, trapping one deputy on the passenger side of the car between the gold sedan and the deputies' car. That deputy opened fire when he saw Hunter reaching for his waistband, Hernandez said.

Simultaneously, the deputy who was driving the patrol car positioned himself outside the passenger side of the gold sedan. 

That deputy, who told detectives he heard screeching tires and a revving engine, also said he saw the sedan's driver reaching for his waistband and the man in the passenger seat reaching for the center console.

The deputy then heard a single gunshot, Hernandez said, and fired at the men in the car, Hernandez said.

Hunter was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:04 p.m., said Ed Winter, a coroner’s spokesman. The passenger was taken to a hospital, but expected to survive.

Deputies fired 19 rounds at the two men, Hernandez said. A loaded revolver was recovered at the scene.

The revolver was under Hunters’ left arm tucked near his waistband. He never fired it. The 24-year-old man was unarmed. Deputies are looking for eyewitnesses and plan to examine any video surveillance in the area.

Hunter’s mother, Martha Willis, told The Times that the shooting was unjustified. “It’s senseless — it’s murder,” she said.

Willis said that Hunter was trying to turn his life around after spending seven years in prison for a burglary he committed when he was 15. He was playing football for a local community college and things were going well, she said.

“If they say he is at fault, then I have to live with that,” she said. But if wasn’t Hunter’s fault, then the deputy will have “to live with that,” she added.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Dets. Robert Gray or Daniel Morris at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

-- Veronica Rocha and Nicole Santa Cruz

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