Carmelo Pizarro Jr: 22-Year-Old Shot To Death By Los Angeles Sheriffs in 2019
September 6, 2021 ~ By Shari Rose
Pizarro was unarmed and running from police when he was killed outside his mother’s home in Pico Rivera
On July 19, 2018, deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spotted Carmelo Pizarro Jr. driving his car and suspected he was driving under the influence. Deputies say they tried to pull him over, but Pizarro kept driving and soon crashed into a light post a few blocks away. He got out of the car and began running on foot.
A police spokesman said at the time that Pizarro was armed with a handgun, but then said that information was provided by a witness account taken after he was killed. After running for a few blocks, police caught up to him as he neared the front of his mother’s house and shot him to death. Pizarro was unarmed when he was killed.
His mother, Maria Reza, was home at the time and witnessed the moments before her son’s death and the shooting itself. Pizarro, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Pizarro’s Parents File Wrongful Death Suit Against Los Angeles County
Reza spoke to television reporters the day after her son’s killing. “He was not even walking toward the sheriffs, the sheriffs were following him,” she said. “They cornered him, and then I heard gunshots, at least six gunshots.”
In March 2019, Pizarro’s parents filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County for excessive force and wrongful death. The suit contended that officers did not warn the 22-year-old they would fire, and that officers failed to provide first aid after they shot him. More than a year later, the County of Los Angeles Claims Board awarded the Pizarro family $925,000 in Carmelo’s death.
It does not appear that any of the deputies who shot the unarmed 22-year-old faced consequences or reprimands. The deputies allege that they later found a revolver belonging to Pizarro in one of the backyards he ran through before he was killed.
This story about Carmelo Pizarro Jr. is part of a larger project that looks at recent police shootings of Latinos in Los Angeles.
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