June 18 (UPI) — The half brother of Robert Fuller, one of two black men recently killed in hanging deaths under investigation in Southern California, was fatally shot in a police encounter Wednesday.
A lawyer for the Fuller family, Jamon Hicks, identified the man killed in the encounter with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies Wednesday as Terron Jammal Boone.
“This afternoon I had to notify the sisters of Robert Fuller that their half brother Terron Jammal Boone was killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Kern County,” Hicks said in a statement. “At this time, until we receive all of the information, the family and their legal team [don’t] have any further comment on this incident.”
According to a sheriff’s office statement on Wednesday’s fatal shooting, the Major Crimes Bureau was searching for a kidnap domestic assault suspect at the time.
“The detectives observed and positively identified a male matching the suspect’s description in a vehicle,” the statement said. “Detectives followed the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. The suspect opened the front passenger door of the vehicle and engaged the deputies by firing multiple rounds at them with a handgun. At the time, an officer involved shooting occurred during which the suspect was struck several times in the upper torso. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.”
A female driver was shot and taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released, the statement added. A 7-year-old girl in the vehicle was not injured. Deputies also were not injured and a handgun was recovered from the scene. Investigation is ongoing.
The Los Angeles Times reported that court records show that Boone was charged Tuesday with multiple criminal counts including criminal threats, assault, false imprisonment and domestic violence.
The newspaper also reported that there were no cameras on the detectives or in their vehicles, but investigators are trying to recover footage.
Lt. Robert Westphal told the Los Angeles Times that the suspect shot toward deputies at least five times.
Westphal added that investigators are trying to recover footage from Ring cameras and other home video systems in the area.
The fatal shooting comes amid federal authorities investigating the hanging deaths of two black men in Southern California as protesters demand justice.
Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree on June 10 in Poncitlan Square near City Hall in Palmdale, Calif., about 20 miles south of Rosamond, where Boone was fatally shot.
Though Fuller’s death was initially alleged to be a suicide, officials “felt it prudent to roll that back and continue to look deeper,” Los Angeles County Medical Examine Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said.
“The Sheriff’s Department immediately declared his death a suicide without completing a full and thorough investigation,” Hicks said regarding the initial allegation. “For African Americans in America, hanging from a tree is lynching. Why was this cavalierly dismissed as a suicide and not investigated as a murder?”
Ten days earlier, about 50 miles away in San Bernadine County, another black man, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree in a homeless encampment in Victorville, California.
Though an autopsy found no evidence of foul play in Harsch’s death on June 12, his cause and manner of death is pending toxicology results from a forensic pathologist.