Fam­ily full of ques­tions on shoot­ing

‘It’s ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous that my brother is gone,’ says sis­ter of Feras Mo­rad.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Joseph Serna

One night in late May, Feras Mo­rad ei­ther jumped or fell out of a sec­ond-story win­dow in Long Beach. Blood cov­ered the Moor­park Col­lege stu­dent. He ap­peared con­fused.

Some­one called for help. Min­utes later, po­lice ar­rived. Ex­actly what hap­pened next is in dis­pute. But the in­ci­dent ended with po­lice fa­tally shoot­ing the un­armed 20-year-old.

The killing on May 27 left friends and fam­ily grasp­ing for an­swers. The Wood­land Hills man had grad­u­ated with a 3.9 grade-point av­er­age from high school, where he com­peted na­tion­ally on the speech and de­bate team. He does not ap­pear to have a crim­i­nal his­tory, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic records.

“It’s ab­so­lutely ridicu­lous that my brother is gone. I don’t know how this hap­pened,” Mo­rad’s sis­ter, Ghada Mo­rad, 16, said at his vigil last week. “I don’t know how this could have hap­pened to some­one like him.... Even if he did some­thing wrong, he shouldn’t have died.”

Po­lice say the of­fi­cer opened fire af­ter Mo­rad fought with him.

The of­fi­cer was called to the 4600 block of East 15th Street about 7:30 p.m. on a report of a per­son leap­ing or stum­bling from a sec­ond­story win­dow. The caller said the per­son needed med­i­cal at­ten­tion, was act­ing er­rat­i­cally and was pos­si­bly vi­o­lent, ac­cord­ing to a 911 au­dio record­ing re­leased by Long Beach po­lice.

The of­fi­cer ar­rived and con­fronted Mo­rad. The of­fi­cer told him he was there to help, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment’s state­ment. But Mo­rad “ad­vanced” on the of­fi­cer, who fired a Taser twice, of­fi­cials said.

A “phys­i­cal strug­gle” en­sued and the of­fi­cer struck Mo­rad with his flash­light, said David Hen­dricks, deputy chief of the de­part­ment’s in­ves­tiga­tive bu­reau. Dur­ing the strug­gle, the two men mo­men­tar­ily sep­a­rated, Hen­dricks said, though he wouldn’t say how far apart they were. Then Mo­rad al­legedly ad­vanced again and the of­fi­cer shot him, po­lice said.

Ka­reem Mo­rad, a cousin of Mo­rad, told The Times last week that he had made a “silly mis­take of ex­per­i­ment­ing with [hal­lu­cino­genic] mush­rooms and, un­for­tu­nately, he had a bad re­ac­tion to it. He needed help, and he didn’t get the help he needed.”

On Thurs­day, pro­test­ers, in­clud­ing some from Black Lives Mat­ter, demon­strated with Mo­rad’s fam­ily and friends out­side the Long Beach Po­lice De­part­ment. A day ear­lier, more than 400 peo­ple gath­ered at a park in Wood­land Hills for a can­dle­light vigil. One af­ter another, peo­ple stood up and spoke about Mo­rad’s in­tel­lect, hu­mil­ity and lead­er­ship.

They ques­tioned whether Mo­rad was threat­en­ing the of­fi­cer or if the of­fi­cer rea­son­ably be­lieved he was in dan­ger be­fore fir­ing his gun.

They also claim that Mo­rad had his hands up when he moved to­ward the of­fi­cer.

The in­ci­dent marked the fourth of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ing this year in Long Beach and the 25th in the last three years, the de­part­ment said. Eleven peo­ple were killed in those in­ci­dents.

No po­lice dash­board cam­era or of­fi­cer body cam­era cap­tured the con­fronta­tion, Hen­dricks said.

Mo­rad’s fam­ily say he was the last per­son any­one would imag­ine get­ting into a con­fronta­tion with po­lice — or any­body, for that mat­ter.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, Mo­rad went to Moor­park Col­lege, his sis­ter said. He planned to trans­fer to Cal State Long Beach in the fall and wanted to go to law school.

“He was a vi­o­lence-last guy,” said Joey Co­hen, 20, who served with Mo­rad in the ROTC. “Al­ways used his words.”

joseph.serna@la­times.com

Omar Nazif Pho­tog­ra­phy

FERAS MO­RAD, 20, was fa­tally shot by Long Beach po­lice on May 27.

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