GARDENA, Calif. - Against the sheriff's wishes, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office released the autopsy report for 18-year-old Andres Guardado Friday morning, citing multiple gunshot wounds as his cause of death and ruled it a homicide.
Guardado was shot and killed the night of June 18 by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy in Gardena outside an auto repair shop where he worked as a security guard.
Cmdr. Chris Marks, who oversees the sheriff's Detective Division Headquarters, said the two deputies were in uniform and in a marked patrol vehicle at the time of the shooting.
Guardado was pronounced dead at the scene.
The deputy who fatally shot him has declined to provide a voluntary statement about the shooting.
The report released by the LA County coroner’s office shares the same results that were found in an independent autopsy at the request of his family.
The initial autopsy was conducted on June 22 and the cause of death was certified on July 7 as multiple gunshot wounds. LA County officials also determined the manner of death was ruled as a homicide.
The initial autopsy was withheld from being released because investigators are still interviewing witnesses and the sheriff's department didn't want to taint the witnesses' testimonies by releasing the autopsy results too soon.
"Holding onto facts is meant to keep the investigation from being tainted in any way, shape or form," said Villanueva during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucal said:
"After careful thought and deliberation, I am releasing the autopsy report of Andres Guardado Pineda. In doing so, I have given careful consideration to the major variables in this case – supporting the administration of justice, as well as the public’s right to know. I do not believe that these are mutually exclusive ideals. Both are important, particularly amid the ongoing national discussion about race, policing and civil rights. I believe that government can do its part by being more timely and more transparent in sharing information that the public demands and has a right to see."
Sheriff Villanueva released a statement after the autopsy was released Friday, stating, "the unprecedented release of the Andres Guardado autopsy report today by the Medical Examiner-Coroner, Dr. Jonathan Lucas, has the potential to jeopardize the investigation, the filing of the case, and any possible future criminal or administrative proceedings."
"This move will now force the sheriff’s department to use court orders to enforce security holds that exist for only one purpose – to prevent tainting witness testimony prior to interviews," Villanueva continued.
The coroner's office released a second statement in response to Villanueva's comments on Friday night, saying in part, "our office is separate from any law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County and has the authority and discretion to make its own independent decisions on death investigations and the release of information."
In summary, the autopsy report revealed:
• Guardado suffered 5 total gunshot wounds, all entering his back;
• An additional 2 graze wounds are present on his forearms along with other secondary fragment wounds;
• All 5 gunshot wounds were fatal;
• All bullets traveled back to front and slightly upwards through the young man’s torso, with the exception of one gunshot wound that was slightly downwards;
• All entrance wounds are a quarter of an inch round with abrasion collar.
The full report can be found below:
The investigation is ongoing.