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Deputy identified in Norwalk shooting that killed man in stolen car

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has identified Luke Liu as the deputy who fatally shot Francisco Garcia, 26, at a Norwalk gas station on Feb. 24. 

Liu has worked for the Sheriff's Department since June 2007 and is assigned to the Cerritos Station, according to a letter from the department, in response to a Public Records Act request from the Los Angeles Times. 

Liu still works for the department but has been taken off patrol pending the outcome of the investigation, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez. The department refused comment further about Liu's status or about the status of its investigation into the shooting.

Investigations into shootings by police typically take many months, in part because investigators usually need toxicology records from the coroner’s office, and those results have been delayed because of problems with the coroner’s equipment. 

“We went from a 10-week delay process to a nine-to-10-month delay in getting autopsy results back [when the equipment broke],” Hernandez said. “Hopefully, those results will come faster now, because the coroner’s office has their equipment back up and running again.”  

The day Liu shot Garcia, Liu was working alone, looking for suspicious activity around the gas station at Alondra Boulevard and Studebaker Road in Norwalk, where a man had been killed the day before

Liu noticed Garcia pumping gas into an Acura Integra that had been reported stolen from Whittier earlier in the day, Hernandez said. Garcia allegedly refused to answer the deputy’s questions, finished pumping his gas and got inside the car, Hernandez said. 

Garcia started the engine as Liu was trying to talk to him, Hernandez said, and then allegedly accelerated and turned sharply to the left, striking the deputy. Liu also said he saw Garcia reaching behind the passenger seat as he turned the car on.

The deputy fired at Garcia, striking him multiple times, according to coroner’s records. Liu started CPR on Garcia after the car stopped moving, Hernandez said. When paramedics arrived, they took Garcia to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

No weapons were found in the car or on Garcia, Hernandez said. Liu was treated for a strained neck and “minor bruising” on his thighs. 

Hernandez said investigators don’t know exactly when Liu drew his weapon, but he had it drawn prior to being struck by the car. “It just wasn’t pointed at" Garcia, Hernandez said. 

The case is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at  (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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