Attorneys for the parents of 18-year-old Andrés Guardado, who was fatally shot multiple times by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Miguel Vega, have obtained an $8 million settlement against the County of Los Angeles for the wrongful death of their son. The settlement was approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“While the settlement reached with the County of Los Angeles brings closure to more than two years of the civil lawsuit, it does not bring with it peace to our family or justice for our son, Andrés,” said Cristobal Guardado.
“Peace and justice will only come when the current investigations are completed, and Deputy Miguel Vega is held criminally responsible for Andrés’ death. We will forever be grateful to our attorneys, our community and to all of those people who have raised their voices as advocates for justice for Andrés,” said his father.
On June 18, 2020, Vega and his partner Deputy Chris Hernandez pulled up to Andrés’place of employment, an auto body shop in Gardena, where he worked as a security guard. The deputies exited their vehicle and approached Andrés as he was talking to two women near the front of the business complex. The deputies alleged that Andrés had a gun on his waistband and ran.
The deputies chased him into an alley at the back of the building. According to their account, Andrés surrendered and placed his gun on the ground, but when they approached to arrest him, Andrés attempted to reach for his gun, where Vega then shot him in the back multiple times.
The family’s attorneys said the deputies had no justification for chasing or shooting Andrés. Previous media accounts questioned why the sheriff’s department quickly took security cameras and did not release its footage. Vega reportedly worked two security jobs and attended Los Angeles Trade Tech college.
“It is difficult to imagine anything worse than losing one’s child, yet Elisa and Cristobal remain hopeful that Andrés’ death will not have been in vain — that somehow through this tragedy, their loss can spark change in a department that is in such great need of change,” said attorney Nicholas Yoka. “The civil justice system has done its part, now the family waits on the criminal justice system.”
Officials with the FBI and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office have not yet concluded their investigation or disclosed their findings as to whether Vega and/or Hernandez were within policy for their use of deadly force or if they will be disciplined and/or criminally charged for their actions.
The L.A. County Supervisors voted to approve 50 million dollars this week to settle Sheriff’s Department Lawsuits stemming from allegations of misconduct or excessive force.