LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A procession and silent car caravan was held in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 18, by relatives and supporters of an 18-year-old shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in June.
The group is seeking further details about the circumstances leading up to Deputy Miguel Vega fatally shooting Andres Guardado on June 18 when he was running from authorities while working as an informal security guard at an auto shop near Gardena.
Participants led a traditional Latin American posada, some clad in angel, Mary and Joseph costumes. Posadas, which reenact Jesus’ birth story, are common among “Latinx-led worker groups… to dramatize their struggle for basic needs and their faith in eventual justice and peace on Earth,” said Maria Hernandez, a communications specialist with the Unite Here union.
The group met a caravan of nearly 100 vehicles at Grand Avenue and Temple Street, according to Hernandez.
As the group walked, some held large pictures of Guardado that read “Justice for Andres” and others donned T-shirts with his face on them.
“My brother was a very bright student and a very good brother and son to my father and mother who did everything he could to provide for our family,” said Guardado’s sister, Jennifer.
“I really hope there is justice in his name because what they did to him was unfair and no young man deserves what he got.”
Guardado’s killing led to the first coroner’s office inquest in more than 30 years, which was conducted Nov. 30. The findings have not been released.
The deputy who shot him, Miguel Vega, and another deputy who was at the scene, Chris Hernandez, did not testify at the proceedings. Both deputies were suspended on Dec. 7, pending an unrelated investigation.
Sheriff’s officials said a weapon was discovered at the scene — 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.
Officials have said there is no evidence Guardado fired any shots.
The group participating in the procession on Friday stopped outside the offices of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District Attorney George Gascon and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, where they sang songs, worshipped and “demanded justice for Guardado,” Hernandez said.
The evening ended with a candlelight vigil.
“We can’t bring him back so our pain will always be here, but we demand justice and that would at least help our pain,” Jennifer Guardado said.