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Dijon Durand Kizzee, 29

Dijon Durand Kizzee (2020-08-31)

Dijon Durand Kizzee, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by law enforcement Monday, Aug. 31, in the 1200 block of West 109th Place in Westmont, according to authorities and coroner’s records.

About 3:16 p.m., two deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s South Los Angeles station were driving on Budlong Avenue when they spotted a man identified as Kizzee riding his bicycle in violation of a vehicle code, said Lt. Brandon Dean.

Deputies tried to make contact with Kizzee, but they said he dropped the bicycle and ran north on Budlong for a block with deputies behind him. Deputies tried again to make contact with Kizzee in the 1200 block of West 109th Place, but, Dean said, he punched one of them in the face.

Kizzee then dropped a bundle of clothing he had been carrying, and deputies spotted a black handgun in the pile. 

Deputies then opened fire, killing Kizzee. The Sheriff’s Department later said that Kizzee “made a motion toward the firearm,” before deputies shot him.

Attorneys for Kizzee’s family said he was shot at least 15 times. The autopsy is on a security hold with the coroner‘s office, preventing the report from being released. 

A video obtained by The Times of the shooting shows a physical altercation between Kizzee and the deputies before Kizzee tries to get away and falls to the ground. At that point, two deputies open fire multiple times. 

Kizzee was an unemployed plumber who lived in Lancaster and was in the area to visit friends. Kizzee grew up in South L.A. and later moved with his mother and younger brother to the Antelope Valley to escape the violence in the area. 

“They moved to get away from the crime — a lot of gang shootings were happening,” said Anthony Johnson, Kizzee’s uncle. 

After Kizzee’s mother died in 2011 from health issues, Kizzee was left grieving and trying to care for his younger brother. 

“He was a momma’s boy for sure,” Johnson said. “There’s really two Dijons. The Dijon before she passed away and the Dijon after she passed away.”

Kizzee received his high school diploma in the L.A. County jail system, said Shanley Rhodes, a principal at the time for Five Keys Charter School, which runs higher education programs for inmates.

When Rhodes heard about Kizzee’s death, she immediately recalled a good-natured man who put in extra work to graduate on time, studying independently after taking several hours of classes during the day.

“It’s hard to stay motivated, it’s hard to have hope, it’s hard to look forward when you’re incarcerated,” she said. “It takes a really strong person to say, ‘I’m going to keep my eyes forward.’ That was all of our students, and that was certainly Dijon.”

In the weeks before he died, Kizzee had been coping with more personal loss.

Kevin “Twin” Orange, a gang intervention worker, said he ran into Kizzee about three weeks ago in South L.A. while visiting the family of a man who had recently died. When Orange got to the family home, Kizzee was there and gave him a hug. The recent loss was one in a string for Kizzee, Orange said. Two other people that Kizzee knew had been killed recently in the Westmont community.

“He said: ‘I just can’t take it. It’s too much,’” Orange said. 

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