Jimmy Bigges Jr., 21
Jimmy Bigges Jr., a 21-year-old black man, died Friday, Feb. 17, after he was shot by three Gardena police officers in two incidents, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. Bigges used the name Jimmy Briggs Jr.
About 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 16, two Gardena Police Department patrol units noticed an argument in the parking lot of the Lucky Lady Casino in the 1000 block of West Rosecrans Boulevard, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza.
A security guard was trying to calm the arguing men, so the officers pulled into the parking lot to offer assistance, Mendoza said.
The details of what happened next are sketchy, Mendoza said.
When the officers drove up, Briggs was crouched behind a vehicle. “The officers’ attention was drawn to the argument and the security guard, and then this third male [Briggs] shoots his gun,” Mendoza said.
No one was injured, Mendoza said.
“There’s no evidence he was shooting at the officers," he said. "We don’t know who he was shooting at or even what direction he was shooting."
Briggs then began running through the parking lot toward Budlong Avenue. As two officers tried to detain him, they opened fire, Mendoza said.
Investigators believe he was struck at least once because when he kept running, he left a trail of blood.
Mendoza said Briggs jumped over a fence onto Budlong Avenue and ran northbound to West 141st Place, then into the 14100 block of Van Buren Court.
The pursuing officers lost sight of Briggs briefly, Mendoza said.
Another officer who had been called to the scene spotted Briggs on Van Buren Court and opened fire, Mendoza said.
At that point, Mendoza said, the officers were able to detain Briggs.
Briggs was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:23 a.m. on Feb. 17. The L.A. County coroner reported that he had multiple gunshot wounds.
Investigators are still trying to determine what prompted police to fire their weapons, Mendoza said.
No guns were found where Briggs fell, but investigators did find two guns along the route he ran. Mendoza said investigators believe Briggs threw down or dropped the guns as he was running. It was a cold, dewy night, Mendoza said, but the guns were relatively dry, leading investigators to believe the weapons had been on the ground for only a short time.
Briggs was an accomplished skateboarder, according to a tribute video posted after his death that features a montage of his skating.
“He was very positive, funny and outgoing,” said Poonysha Harris, who called Briggs her boyfriend and best friend in a text-message conversation. Briggs graduated from Fairfax High School, she said, and lived in Baldwin Hills.
Briggs has several skateboarding videos online and had begun performing rap songs as well, Harris said. In 2013 and 2015, he was featured in promotional videos on the website for clothing company the Hundreds.
After a plea bargain in July 2015, Briggs was sentenced to 210 days in jail for felony hit-and-run, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
In December 2016, he was charged with robbery and grand theft, according to court documents. In that case, Briggs was accused of taking $1,284 in clothing from retailer Saks Off Fifth on Wilshire Boulevard, a spokesman for the L.A. County district attorney’s office said. LAPD Det. Bernard Romero said the robbery charge stemmed from Briggs resisting a store security guard, considered a use of force under California law. Briggs’ preliminary hearing date was to be March 21.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Update, Feb. 28, 2017: This article was updated to clarify details of Briggs' 2016 robbery charge.