Nicholas Robertson, 28, was shot to death by Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies on Saturday around 11 a.m.
Capt. Steven Katz said that “public safety was critical here.” Robertson had been shooting a gun into the air, yelling, and entering area businesses when deputies confronted him and demanded he drop the gun.
Refusing to comply and at one point pointing the gun at deputies, Robertson presented them with no other option. The two deputies fired a combined 33 shots.
But protestors, seeing the video (above), which was released on social media almost immediately, seized upon the fact that Robertson continued to be shot despite apparently crawling on the ground.
“When I seen him crawling on the ground,” his mother-in-law told KTLA reporters, “that’s injustice to me.” Said another protestor: “Do you wanna tell me, why and in what circumstances, it would be justified to shoot somebody on their knees?”
However, images released by LASD show clearly that Robertson continued to hold the gun as he was on the ground. Further, witnesses backed up the sheriffs’ assertion that Robertson continued to pose a threat.
Juan Roberto, 18, according to the LA Times, was sweeping the floor inside the pool and banquet room of Chico’s Pizza parlor, across the street from the site of the shooting, on Saturday morning when a man walked in with a gun. “He was holding a silver semiautomatic handgun on his left hand,” Roberto said.
Roberto said the man was walking north on the boulevard when he heard shots ring out and he ran outside.
“Then I saw him crawling,” Roberto said of the gunman as bullets continued to fly. “He was still holding the gun and he still wouldn’t let it go.”