PALMDALE, Calif. (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Thursday investigated a gunbattle between detectives from its Major Crimes Bureau and a man accused of spousal abuse and other crimes, climaxing with the death of the suspect, who was later identified as a half brother of the young Black man found hanged from a tree in Palmdale last week.
The shooting occurred in a parking lot at an apartment complex in the 3400 block of 15th Street West in the Kern County town of Rosamond as the detectives trailed a suspect about 4:35 p.m. Wednesday, said Deputy James Nagao of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau were actively searching for a kidnap, spousal abuse, assault with a deadly weapon suspect," Lt. Robert Westphal told reporters at the scene.
The investigation led to the parking lot of the apartment complex, Nagao said.
"The detectives observed and positively identified a male matching the suspect's description in a vehicle," Nagao said. "Detectives followed the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. The suspect opened the front passenger door of the vehicle and engaged the deputies by firing multiple rounds at them with a handgun. At that time, an officer involved shooting occurred during which the suspect was struck several times in the upper torso.
"The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene," Nagao said. "The female driver was also struck by gunfire and transported to a local hospital where she was treated and released. A seven year old girl was also in the vehicle and was uninjured."
The suspect was struck several times in the upper body, Westphal said. The woman suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. The 7-year-old girl's relationship to either adult was not immediately disclosed.
Deputies recovered a gun at the scene. No deputies were hurt.
The man who was fatally shot was Terron Jammal Boone, a half-brother of Fuller, a Fuller family attorney said.
"This afternoon I had to notify the sisters of Robert Fuller that their half-brother Terron Jammal Boone was killed by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Kern County," attorney Jamon Hicks said in a statement.
"At this time, until we receive all of the information, the family and their legal team doesn't have any further comment on this incident. The family respectfully asks that their privacy be respected."
Court records cited by the Los Angeles Times show that Boone was charged Tuesday with multiple criminal counts including criminal threats, assault, false imprisonment and domestic violence.
Surveillance video of the incident posted by the Rosamond Community Watchdog, a local news platform, showed multiple vehicles trailing a dark SUV into a housing complex parking lot, The Times reported. Voices repeatedly shouted, "Hands up!" before gunfire erupted.
None of the detectives nor their vehicles were equipped with cameras, but investigators probing the battle are trying to recover footage from doorbell cameras and other home video systems in the area, Westphal said.
Siara Anderson told The Times that she was on the balcony of an apartment building adjacent to the parking lot in the 3400 block of 15th Street West when Boone was shot. Anderson said that she heard four or five gunshots and saw a man slumped in the passenger seat of a blue sport utility vehicle.
Law enforcement officers, in plainclothes but wearing bulletproof vests, were at the scene, she said, along with about five unmarked police cars.
Robert Fulller's body was found with a rope around his neck about 3:40 a.m. June 10 in Poncitlan Square, across from Palmdale City Hall. Authorities initially said the death appeared to be a suicide, although an official cause of death has not been made.
The family is asking for an independent autopsy to be paid for by the city of Palmdale.
On Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the death -- with cooperation from state and federal agencies.