Fatal shooting of homeless man: Everything you need to know (so far)

On Sunday morning, police responded to a robbery call, an altercation resulted when the suspects were approached, and a man was killed after being shot several times, according to the LA Times.

View the video taken by Anthony Blackburn. Warning: foul language and violence are captured within this video.

The victim has since been identified as a Cameroonian native named Charley Leundeu Keunang, a 43-year-old who had stolen the identity and the passport of a Frenchman back in the 1990s. He has been going under the false identity of Charley Saturmin Robinet. The real Robinet is a law-abiding French citizen.

When the officers approached two suspects, they began arguing while another two officers began surrounding the suspects. An altercation resulted where two officers detained one suspect who grabbed hold of a police baton, and the other was taken to the ground by four officers.

The video taken by Anthony Blackburn (which he also posted on his Facebook) shows the homeless man being taken down, and tasered extensively. LAPD has stated that Keunang tried to reach for the gun on one of the officers.

In Blackburn’s video, it can be heard that the officers shout “Drop the gun,” several times before firing on Keunang. Five shots were fired total, according to the video.

The killing was ruled a homicide by the coroner, which by definition means that death came by the hand of another person, according to the LA Times.

Keunang was locally known by the nicknames “Africa” and “Cameroon,” and had been living in a tent for months on Skid Row. It was also discovered that the victim had spent time in a mental health facility.

According to the LA Times, the incident “has highlighted the difficulties that police face in patrolling skid row, where many inhabitants struggle with mental illness and drug abuse. But it has also reignited anger from those living in the tent encampments and their advocates, who say police tactics are too aggressive.”


Photo Credit: Al Sheib/LA Times. Kelly Kunta, a Skid Row inhabitant, protests in front of LAPD headquarters on March 3.

People have already began rallying in protest and set up vigils in Keunang’s honor. See the full gallery here.

Buzzfeed reports that the LAPD’s specialized Force Investigative Division is currently investigating the happenings from Sunday, March 1. They will be collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses in order to conclude whether or not the use of deadly force that was utilized in this situation coincided with LAPD policies. The LA County District Attorney is also expected to review the case.


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