Fam­ily of man killed by po­lice seeks U.S. probe

A Long Beach of­fi­cer says he thought the 19-year-old was point­ing a gun at him.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Veron­ica Rocha veron­ica.rocha @la­times.com

The fam­ily of an un­armed man fa­tally shot by Long Beach po­lice is call­ing for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the killing by the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment.

Hec­tor More­jon, 19, was shot and killed Thurs­day by a Long Beach po­lice of­fi­cer who said he be­lieved he was point­ing a gun at him dur­ing a tres­pass­ing and van­dal­ism in­ci­dent.

More­jon’s fam­ily is­sued a state­ment Satur­day de­mand­ing that the city and Po­lice Depart­ment sus­pend the of­fi­cer, as well as pro­vide his name and badge num­ber.

More­jon’s fam­ily also is re­quest­ing that the Jus­tice Depart­ment con­duct a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion “to de­ter­mine how and why an un­armed teenage kid was killed.”

They want “jus­tice and ac­count­abil­ity” from the Long Beach Po­lice Depart­ment.

“Long Beach po­lice should al­low an in­de­pen­dent in­quest,” said So­nia Mer­cado, one of the fam­ily’s at­tor­neys. “How can they in­ves­ti­gate them­selves?”

Hec­tor’s mother, Lu­cia More­jon, was at home when she heard the shots, then went to an al­ley near her home to see what had hap­pened, ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily’s at­tor­neys, R. Sa­muel Paz and Mer­cado.

She said she saw a flurry of po­lice ac­tiv­ity and then her son ly­ing in an am­bu­lance. He propped him­self up and said, “Mommy, Mommy, please come, please come,” his at­tor­neys said.

“The only thing re­play­ing in [Lu­cia More­jon’s] head is ‘He was talk­ing to me. He reached out,’” Mer­cado said. “She feels she has a right to know what hap­pened.”

Po­lice said of­fi­cers re­ceived a re­port that sev­eral peo­ple were tres­pass­ing and van­dal­iz­ing a va­cant apart­ment in the 1100 block of Hoffman Av­enue.

They ar­rived to find an open win­dow in the back of the apart­ment and a bro­ken win­dow.

An of­fi­cer looked into the apart­ment and saw a man stand­ing against a wall, then turn to­ward him, po­lice said.

The man bent his knees and ex­tended his arm “as if point­ing an ob­ject, which the of­fi­cer per­ceived was a gun,” re­sult­ing in an of­fi­cer­in­volved shoot­ing, po­lice said.

No weapons were found at the scene. The apart­ment was spray-painted with gang-re­lated graf­fiti, po­lice said.

“Ob­jects were col­lected from the scene, but it has not been yet determined at this point in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion if those ob­jects were what the of­fi­cer ob­served,” depart­ment spokes­woman Sgt. Megan Za­bel said. “We are not de­scrib­ing ev­i­den­tiary de­tail on what those ob­jects are at this time, as with how many times the sus­pect was shot.”

More­jon’s fam­ily at­tor­ney re­jected the gang al­le­ga­tion and ties.

The depart­ment, Za­bel said, moves all of­fi­cers in­volved in a shoot­ing from their field du­ties to an­other po­si­tion un­til a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent re­view is per­formed by the depart­ment.

From Jan­uary 2000 to Mon­day, 41 peo­ple have been killed in of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ings in Long Beach, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Times Homi­cide Re­port.

— So­nia Mer­cado, ‘Long Beach po­lice should al­low an in­de­pen­dent in­quest. How can they in­ves­ti­gate them­selves?’

an at­tor­ney for the More­jon fam­ily

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