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Robert Thomas Jr., 21

Robert Thomas, a 21-year-old black man, was fatally shot by an L.A. County sheriff's deputy Monday, Nov. 8, in the 1600 block of East 123rd Street in Willowbrook, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Lt. David Dolson said Thomas fled on foot when deputies approached a group of people who were drinking in front of a residence about 10:15 p.m. He described Thomas as a local gang member.

The deputies initially approached the group because people were drinking in the lawn area of a residence, but  they then noticed Thomas acting suspiciously, Dolson said.

According to authorities, Thomas ran from the deputies into the driveway of a nearby residence, where he came to a locked chained-link fence. Dolson said Thomas then turned around and faced the deputies while holding a handgun. One deputy fired “multiple rounds,” striking Thomas.

Thomas was pronounced dead at a hospital, Dolson said. Thomas did not fire a weapon during the incident, he said. Authorities said a handgun was recovered at the scene.

The department is investigating the circumstances of the shooting and has yet to determine exactly how many rounds were fired or how many times Thomas was shot, Dolson said. According to coroner's records, Thomas died from "multiple gunshot wounds." The coroner's office could not specify exactly how many times or where on his body he was shot.

After the shooting, Thomas’ sister was arrested on suspicion of battery against a peace officer, Dolson said.

-- Stephen Ceasar and Sarah Ardalani

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