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Marco Antonio Vazquez, 37

Marco Antonio Vazquez (2019-10-06)

Marco Antonio Vazquez, a 37-year-old Latino, was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies on Sunday, Oct. 6, in the 8200 block of Rexall Avenue in West Whittier-Los Nietos, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. 

Vazquez lived in a house with his wife, children, parents and other family members in West Whittier, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Derrick Alfred. 

Around 8 p.m. neighbors called deputies to report that Vazquez was running around the outside of his house with a machete in his hand, banging on the windows, Alfred said. 

When deputies arrived, Vazquez was in the house and family members told investigators that Vazquez was paranoid and schizophrenic, and sometimes became overly protective of his family. 

The deputies called all the family members out of the house, to check on their welfare but Vazquez refused to come out, Alfred said. Family members told the deputies this was not uncommon behavior for Vazquez. 

"They wanted help to get him to a doctor, because he wasn't willing to go see one on his own," Alfred said, "but they didn't feel threatened by his actions. The family wasn't scared, and they didn't feel he was a danger to himself or others. They just felt he was having an episode, and was overly paranoid that someone was out to get his family." 

A mental evaluation team came to talk to Vazquez and determined he was not eligible for a 5150 involuntary treatment because he was not a danger to himself or others, Alfred said. The deputies and mental evaluation team spent more than two hours at the home, he said, but finally left after Vazquez refused to come out. 

About 25 minutes later, around 10:30 p.m., deputies were called to the house again, this time by family members who said he was trying to get everyone to leave the house and he wanted the police to shoot him. "They were afraid he might be suicidal now," Alfred said. 

This time only deputies were able to respond. They parked near the house, around the corner, and were working on a plan about how to approach "when they heard someone screaming like they were in dire need of help, and someone else screaming angrily."

The deputies approached the house, some in a car and others on foot, and allegedly saw Vazquez screaming at a woman and threatening her with a large kitchen knife, Alfred said. 

"When he saw the deputies, he began to aggress towards the deputies," Alfred said. "They told him to drop the knife but he yelled a profanity at them and challenged them, saying something to the effect of  'Come on!' and then moved quickly towards them with the knife raised. He was about 20 feet away to begin with and when he was about half that distance away, they fired."

Two deputies and a sergeant opened fire, Alfred said. Vazquez was struck multiple times, and his adult brother in the background was injured when a bullet grazed his foot. The brother was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released. 

Vazquez was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:04 p.m., according to coroner's records. The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds. 

No other injuries were reported. Investigators found a large chef's knife with an 8-inch blade near Vazquez's body. 

KTLA reported that a cousin said Vazquez was a grandfather and father of five who married his high school sweetheart. Family members told investigators that Vazquez had recently gotten his commercial driver's license and acquired his own vehicle to begin working as a truck driver, Alfred said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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