A man shot by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Florence-Firestone early Wednesday morning appears to have been unarmed. Authorities have identified the man as 23-year-old Cristian Rene Medina.
The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. near a payphone at the corner of 64th Street and Holmes Avenue.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Guillermina Saldana said deputies from the Century Station were responding to a report of a robbery in progress nearby. When deputies arrived, Medina was standing alone near the payphone in front of a liquor store, she said. The department said Medina matched the description of the robbery suspect.
Guillermina said Medina took a “shooting stance” as though he were pointing a weapon. The deputies fired and Medina died on the scene. No weapon was found.
Manuel Romero, who lives near the corner where the shooting took place, said he heard the gunshots.
"I heard like maybe eight times,” Romero said. By the time he walked over to see what happened, authorities had blocked off the street.
Neighbors told KPCC Medina lived about a block away but many were reluctant to talk to a reporter about the incident.
A KPCC investigation into officer-involved-shootings in L.A. County found one in four people shot by police and deputies between 2010 and 2014 were unarmed.
KPCC's data showed that in the five year period, at least eight people were shot by deputies in the slice of unincorporated Los Angeles where Medina died.
The area also has a high gang presence and a relatively high number of homicides, compared with other areas patrolled by the sheriff's department. In 2015, Century Station has the third-highest homicide rate of any other sheriff's patrol station.
Overall, crime has been dropping in the area. Violent and property crimes did rise about 6 percent in 2015, compared to the year before. But they're still lower than they were five years ago.