An unarmed Black man was pronounced dead at the scene after Los Angeles County deputies opened fire on him. Now the community is openly expressing outrage.
Ryan Twyman was shot and killed in the unincorporated area of Willowbrook in South Los Angeles on June 6. A week later during a fundraiser for Twyman’s funeral expenses, locals, Twyman’s family’s attorney, and activists groups like the NAACP now want answers.
“Parked right here, the police opened his door up, said he had a gun and started shooting,” said a male witness, who did not provide his name.
Witnesses said two deputies approached the parked white sedan located in a parking stall at an apartment complex and began firing their weapons on the man in the driver’s seat. A news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated the driver, later identified as the 24-year-old father of three, was “struck multiple times” in the torso before he was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man in the car was uninjured and arrested. Neither deputy involved was injured.
Exactly what led to the shooting remains unclear.
“The one officer ran up to the door, snatched it open and started firing,” another male witness who also wished to stay anonymous tells KTLA. “Never identified himself as police. The other officer … ran up with his assault rifle still unloading on the car 30 rounds.”
An investigation into the matter is ongoing and authorities confirmed no weapon was discovered at the scene.
Paulette Gibson, president of NAACP Compton chapter, told the news outlet she has spoken to Twyman’s mother and the captain of the Compton police station.
Brian Dunn, the family’s attorney, says a lawsuit is coming.
“Yes, we will file a claim, yes we will bring an action for federal civil rights violations,” he says.
Twyman, who just turned 24 three days before he was killed, left behind three young sons and girlfriend of nearly five years, Davielle Johnson.
“Broken. I think everything is destroyed. Everything is ruined. Our plans, our life, our kids’ life,” she says.
Meanwhile, social media users have been erupting over the pattern of law enforcement shooting and killing unarmed Black men.
Among the more prominent voices is Compton native and rapper The Game. He wrote on Instagram, “Another young black man taken away from his children at the hands of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department. Under no circumstances should anyone unarmed be shot 37 times. Read the number…. 37 times !!!! This is a sick pattern & happens way too often these days. A father, a son, a brother, a human. 37 bullets & for what ?!?!? What’s the explanation… How y’all gone try to cover this one up ?!?!?”
Authorities have not confirmed the exact number of times Twyman was shot. The apartment complex where Twyman was killed told KTLA it will turn over all surveillance footage and the sheriff’s department is compiling all their findings to send to an independent investigator and at that time a district attorney will decide on filing charges.
A GoFundMe campaign has also been established to help raise funds funeral funds.