Eduardo Edwin Rodriguez, 24
Eduardo Edwin Rodriguez, a 24-year-old Latino, was shot to death by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Feb. 14 at Ferris Avenue and Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
The incident began about 3 a.m., when deputies noticed a car that appeared to be stripped in a mostly empty supermarket parking lot, said Lt. Eddie Hernandez. They also spotted a van parked nearby, Hernandez said, with a woman in the driver’s seat.
Investigators have found stolen vehicles in the parking lot before, Hernandez said, so the deputies drove around the block to look more closely at the car and the van.
On their second pass, the deputies noticed that the van now had three occupants, two males and a female, Hernandez said. When the van pulled out of the parking lot, the deputies followed and then pulled the van over because it had no light on the license plate, Hernandez said.
The driver and one passenger exited the van at the deputies' direction, Hernandez said, but the man in the front passenger seat, later identified as Rodriguez, resisted.
Rodriguez was “being fidgety” and making the deputies nervous by reaching for his waistband, Hernandez said.
“He kept saying he needed his cellphone, and she [one of the deputies] was doing everything she could to keep his hands from the waistband area,” Hernandez said.
The deputy repeatedly told Rodriguez to keep his hands on the dashboard, Hernandez said, and had to force him out of the vehicle because he wouldn’t get out on his own.
As the deputy was pulling Rodriguez from the van, Hernandez said, her partner, who was on the other side of the vehicle, shouted that he saw a gun.
The deputy was still trying to control Rodriguez’s hands, Hernandez said. “They were in a full-blown struggle, which started at the frame of the car and ended in the middle of the street. He [Rodriguez] was making a real concerted effort to break her grasp and get away,” Hernandez said.
Rodriguez freed his hands after a minute and a half of a “pretty violent struggle,” Hernandez said. At that point, the deputy believed Rodriguez was going to reach for his gun, so she fired her weapon, as did another deputy who had been standing behind her.
Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene at 4 a.m., according to coroner’s records.
Investigators found a 22-caliber revolver on the ground where Rodriguez exited the van, Hernandez said. Investigators believe Rodriguez had tucked the gun into a back brace he was wearing, Hernandez said, and the deputies did not realize it had fallen during the struggle.
The female driver of the van was questioned and released, Hernandez said, and the other male occupant was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto. The car that originally attracted the deputies’ attention had been stolen from Long Beach, Hernandez said.
The names of the two deputies involved in the shooting have not been released.
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.