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Lejoy Erastus Grissom, 27

Lejoy Erastus Grissom (2010-04-25)

Lejoy Grissom, a 27-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a Culver City police officer Sunday, April 25, at Motor Avenue and Venice Boulevard in Palms, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Grissom was shot after police officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at an electronics store about 12:15 p.m., according to L.A. County Sheriff's Department officials who are investigating his death. According to witnesses, the robber brandished a chrome handgun and fled the location with merchandise from the store.

While patrolling the area, a Culver City police officer saw a car driving unusually and noticed that the passenger, Grissom, matched the description given of the suspected electronics store robber, officials said.

Investigators said the officer pulled the car over. While getting Grissom and the female driver to exit the car, the officer fired his weapon, fatally wounding Grissom, they said.

 Sheriff's Lt. Dave Dolson told the Associated Press: Grissom "steps out of the car and at some point, despite commands to keep his hands up, he drops his hands to his waistband area. He made some furtive moves, and so one of the officers thought he was going for a gun and so shot him."

Grissom was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Authorities said Grissom's sister Layla Grissom, a 20-year old black woman, was driving the vehicle. She was arrested at the scene and, due to allegations that she was involved in a felony that led to the shooting, was arrested in connection with her brother's death.

According to the felony complaint filed by the Los Angeles County district attorney, Layla Grissom is charged with two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of kidnapping to commit another crime. She was on felony probation at the time of the alleged robbery, according to the complaint, and is being held in lieu of $1,075,000 bail.

Authorities said a chrome handgun was recovered at the scene.

Frances Prizzia, a defense attorney who said she was standing outside a nearby doughnut shop at the time of the incident, told the Associated Press that Grissom had his hands raised when he was shot.

"He had his hands up the whole time, fingers open," Prizzia said. "There was no way he was reaching for anything.

"He absolutely did not move his hands," she said. "The only time he moved was when he reverberated from the bullets."

Dolson dismissed Prizzia's account.

"We have some independent witnesses who have corroborated the officers' version of events," Dolson said.

-- Sarah Ardalani

KTLA Video: Robbery suspect shot and killed by officer

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