CHP shooting in El Sereno leads to state AG investigation

The family of a man who was killed by police Tuesday afternoon in El Sereno is seeking justice.

Friends and family of Leo Chavez expressed heartbreak and disappointment at a press conference Wednesday, where multiple people called for punishment, up to and including criminal charges, against the California Highway Patrol officers who were involved.

“I need justice and I need the one that shot him to get to get fired out of the CHP,” Chavez’s mother, Maritza Padilla, said.

The incident began with a two-car accident at 3:16 p.m. Tuesday at Medford and Indiana streets, according to CHP Officer Chris Baldonado.

The car crash resulted in Chavez, whom the Los Angeles Times identified as a 24-year-old man, exiting his car and exchanging words with the other driver, according to Chavez’s family.

When CHP arrived, the situation escalated, and the officers attempted to use a stun gun on Chavez. When the attempt failed, Chavez moved toward the officers and at the minimum one officer shot him, Chavez’s family said.

Chavez was distinct dead at the scene by the Los Angeles Fire Department, said Baldonado, who declined to provide additional details about the incident.

On Wednesday, Chavez’s family and friends emphasized that he was unarmed and the CHP officers did not have sufficient reason to open fire.

Baldonado did not say whether Chavez was armed.

Christian Contreras, an attorney for Chavez’s family, called the incident “the murder of a young Latino man in the Latino neighborhood.”

“This affects an complete community and it traumatizes every single one of these community members, to an extent that we don’t trust police,” Contreras said. “We don’t want to call police. We have to rely on each other because when police come to a call, they end up killing one of our own. So we need to reform how our police treat our people, we need to reform how police shoot and kill people unjustifiably, and we need to stop the shootings and killings.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday that his office is investigating the shooting.

Assembly Bill 1506 requires the California Department of Justice to probe all incidents of an officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian in the state, according to the attorney general’s website.

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