Crime & Justice

Unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers had meth, marijuana in system, report says

The fatal shooting of Charly Leundeu Keunang by LAPD officers on Skid Row was caught on video and sparked outrage among many people.
The fatal shooting of Charly Leundeu Keunang by LAPD officers on Skid Row was caught on video and sparked outrage among many people.
Courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff's Office

A new report by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reveals an unarmed homeless man shot by LAPD officers on Skid Row in March had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system.

Caught on video by a bystander, the shooting of Charly Leundeu Keunang was viewed by millions of people, drew international attention and sparked angry protests outside police headquarters in L.A.
 
An autopsy by the coroner’s office released Tuesday found Keunang was shot six times — twice in the chest, twice in the torso and twice in the left arm. Four of the shots were fatal.

One bullet entered his torso, exited his chest and re-entered his right arm, according to the autopsy report. Two were “contact gunshot wounds.”
 
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said Keunang, 43, struggled with officers and tried to grab one of their guns when they tried to talk to him about reports he had robbed someone.
 
His family claims officers were negligent and used excessive force, filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD and the city of Los Angeles seeking $20 million.

An article in GQ magazine said body cam videos viewed by the reporter did not show Keunang with his hand on any of the officers’ weapons and, rather than struggling with them, seemed to be trying to pull Tazer wires out of his back after he was shot with the stun gun.
 
“I read the GQ article,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday. “It’s certainly done from a specific point of view, and it contains multiple inaccuracies.”
 
But Beck refused to explain what those inaccuracies were.

“That would reveal the details of an investigation that is not yet completed,” he said.
 
Bystander video appears to show Keunang fighting with officers.
 
“I would welcome his release of the body cams to prove me wrong,” said Jeff Sharlot, the author of the article. “My story, like all GQ stories, go through the highest standard of fact checking.”
 
Keunang, an immigrant from Cameroon, was known as “Africa” on Skid Row. He had been convicted of bank robbery nearly a decade earlier. He had also undergone mental health treatment in the past.
 
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division, Inspector General and the District Attorney are investigating the incident.

Keunang autopsy

This story has been updated.