Andres Guardado death: Ex-LA County deputy who shot teen near Gardena will not be charged
LOS ANGELES - The ex-Los Angeles County deputy who shot and killed 18-year-old Andres Guardado will not be facing charges from the June 2020 incident near Gardena.
According to a memorandum published by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's office on Friday, investigators with the office's Justice System Integrity Division declared that there wasn't enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that LASD deputy Miguel Vega did not shoot Guardado in self-defense.
The announcement comes in spite of the fact that the autopsy from the LA County coroner's office showed the teen was shot five times in the back.
"This fact is insufficient to prove a lack of self-defense. The evidence shows Guardado was in possession of this firearm days before and at the time he fled from the deputies," the DA's office said, in-part, in the memorandum. "The only evidence of Guardado’s actions immediately prior to Vega firing his weapon is Vega’s statement that he reached for the firearm."
The DA's office added in the memorandum that "there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Vega’s actions were not because he honestly and reasonably feared for his life at the time he fired his pistol."
At the time of the shooting investigation in 2020, LASD said deputies recovered an unregistered .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a polymer frame and no serial number, a Smith & Wesson slide and a prohibited 15-round Glock magazine fully loaded.
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The DA's office's issued the following statement in the wake of Friday's announcement:
"My heart goes out to the Guardado family. Nothing that my office can do will mitigate the unimaginable pain that those that knew and loved Andres must be feeling. This decision doesn’t validate the actions of these officers. They have a troubling background of misconduct and that was thoroughly considered. Sadly, at the end of the day we do not believe that there is enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Christopher Hernandez, a fellow LASD deputy, also responded to the scene in June 2020, but did not shoot Guardado. Friday's announcement on the June 2020 shooting comes a day after it was announced that both Vega and Hernandez will both face charges for illegally detaining a skateboarder back in April 2020.
Both Vega and Hernandez were charged with conspiracy, deprivation of rights under color of law, witness tampering, and falsification of records. Vega alone is charged with an additional count of falsification of records.
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Like Vega, Hernandez is no longer with LASD.