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Fred Williams III, 25

Fred Williams III, a 25-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies Friday, Oct. 16, in the 2200 block of East 121st Street in Willowbrook, according to Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner's records.

About 5:30 p.m., deputies were on a "routine patrol check" of Mona Park and saw a group of about 10 to 15 people in the parking lot, according to a news release from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

The deputies said one of the people in the group was holding a firearm and when he saw the deputies, he ran out of the parking lot. 

One of the deputies chased the man, identified as Williams, down a driveway and into a backyard. Authorities said that Williams pointed his gun at a deputy, "at which point a deputy involved shooting occurred."

Williams was pronounced dead at the scene. The department said it recovered a semiautomatic handgun from the scene. 

Lisa Smith, 52, a witness who referred to Williams as “my baby," said she was part of the group who was at the park when deputies arrived.  Assuming their arrival spelled trouble for the group, she said, “we started running.”

“A policeman started running on foot after Fred, and seconds later, Fred disappeared around a corner,” she recalled. “Then I heard four shots. Pop, pop, pop, pop.”

The next day, dozens of people gathered at a curbside memorial of candles and rap music across the street from the park.  Among them was Sandy Hendrix, 57, a neighbor who had known Williams since he was a child.

Nodding toward the park playground and trying not to cry, she recalled, “I used to push him on the swing right over there. He loved that, and so did I. I never dreamed that he would one day be fatally shot by police less than a block away from that swing set.”

At a nearby house where Williams had been living, his father, Fred Williams Jr., 44, anguished over an unanswered question: Why wouldn’t detectives explain to him the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of his son?

“All they will tell me is that my son was shot once in the shoulder,” he said, his eyes filled with tears. “Was he shot in the front or the back? I do not know. They won’t tell me.”

His son had been released from prison a month earlier after serving time for a robbery conviction, relatives said. He was looking forward to starting a new job as a security guard on Tuesday.

Williams’ father is not satisfied with the sheriff’s explanation.

“I’ve been put in and out of the back seat of police vehicles since I was 12 years old,” he said. “What else do you need to know?

“We’re getting killed by police,” he added. “The big question is this: When will it stop?”

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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