Leroy Browning, 30
Leroy Browning, a 30-year-old black man, was killed by law enforcement Sunday, Dec. 20, in the 37900 block of 47th Street East in Palmdale, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
The incident began about 3 a.m. when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies received a report about a car crashing into a Taco Bell restaurant, Lt. Dave Coleman said.
When deputies arrived, they found a man later identified as Browning unconscious behind the wheel of a car that had struck the wall of the building, near the drive-through window.
After Browning regained consciousness, deputies put him in the back of their patrol car and conducted a sobriety test, Coleman said.
When the results indicated that Browning had failed the test, Coleman said, one of the deputies opened the back door of the patrol car intending to handcuff Browning and place him under arrest.
However, when the deputy asked Browning to turn around so he could put on the handcuffs, Browning "launched himself from the car and tackled the deputy," Coleman said.
As the two men struggled, three other deputies tried to restrain Browning, Coleman said. Coleman said that Browning pinned the deputy's hands to his waist and took hold of his gun, trying to remove it from its holster.
The deputy shouted to the other deputies that Browning had his gun and "that's when one of the deputies felt compelled to shoot him," Coleman said.
Browning was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Coleman said. The Sheriff's Department has put a security hold on the case, and the coroner's office is unable to release information about the autopsy or the official time of death.
The deputies were treated for bruises and scrapes.
After the shooting, investigators found a blue-steel pistol and bag of marijuana in Browning's car, Coleman said.
They also discovered that Browning was wanted on an active warrant from Palmdale station detectives in connection with a home-invasion robbery and an assault with a deadly weapon in which someone was shot and injured in Palmdale in the summer of 2015, Coleman said.
The deputy who fired the fatal shot has not been identified, and probably won’t be for some time, Coleman said, because of “veiled threats of retaliation” that came during protests in the community after the shooting.
The Antelope Valley African-American Leadership Council issued a statement Dec. 23 asking for prayers for Browning's family and calm while the case was investigated.
Quoting Bishop Henry Hearns, the council's chairman, the statement said the council had been in touch with Palmdale Sheriff Station Capt. Ford to express its "deep concern about the untimely death of Mr. Leroy Browning."
"While we understand and appreciate the risks our sheriff deputies take every day in policing our community, we are equally concerned with respect to how that policing is administered," the statement said.
"We trust in Captain Ford's leadership and integrity that a thorough, honest and fair investigation will take place regarding the death of Mr. Browning."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.