Neighbors Saddened, Worried After Deputy's Fatal Shooting

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Authorities continue to investigate the fatal shooting of L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Juan Abel Escalante early Saturday. KPCC's Brian Watt visited the makeshift memorial to Escalante near his parents' house in Cypress Park.

Brian Watt: People have placed flowers, American flags, and religious candles at the corner of Aragon and Thorpe Avenues. That's where someone gunned down Juan Abel Escalante around 5:40 on Saturday morning. A woman from up the street who gave only her first name, Maria, heard the shots.

Maria: The situation and the environment, you feel like, tense. Like, what's going on, what's wrong with these people? I mean, killing.

Watt: Maria said she's known the Escalante family for 15 years. She called them good neighbors. Escalante and his wife and three kids still lived with his parents. The U.S. Army Reservist had worked as a Sheriff's Deputy for two-and-a-half years.

His assignment at the downtown Men's Central Jail was to guard the most dangerous inmates, including gang members. Detectives from LAPD and the Sheriff's Department are looking into whether that factored into his shooting. Neighbor Maria said she wants more police patrolling her notoriously tough neighborhood.

Maria: 'Cause we're not safe nowhere... We're just not safe.

Watt: Before his death, Escalante and his family had been preparing to buy a house of their own in Pomona.