By Terry Miller
Surveillance Video and Witnesses Corroborates Customs and Border Patrol Officer’s Statement
In a follow-up to the shooting death in Arcadia last week of Darrius Smith, 15, of Pasadena, authorities have done extensive investigative research into the surveillance video from the Gold Line station in Arcadia and the train where the suspects and robbery victim was targeted by the teens.
Last Friday, May 26, 2017, at approximately 8:15 pm, an off-duty federal United States Customs and Border Protection officer was walking in the 400 block of First Avenue in the city of Arcadia when he was assaulted by three subjects who tried to rob him using a handgun. During the alleged attempted robbery, the federal officer, fearing for his life, shot two of the subjects.
Since the incident involved a shooting by a federal officer, the Arcadia Police Department requested the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct an independent investigation into the incident along with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Investigators from the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau were assigned the investigation, arrived at the scene that night and assumed control of the investigation. The Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney also arrived, participated in the investigatory process and conducted a legal analysis of the shooting.
During the course of the investigation, investigators have reviewed surveillance video, spoken with witnesses, reviewed evidence at the scene and looked at autopsy results as well as considered statements that were made by the subjects and the victim. Up to this point in the investigation, investigators have been able to corroborate the following events and actions of the involved parties.
The dead teen’s mother and attorney maintain that the shooting was an “execution.”
The evidence, thus far supports the Customs officer’s statements of the events that took place which resulted in the OIS.
Video from the Gold Line Metro Rail shows the victim and the three subjects riding on the train. The victim exited the train at the Arcadia Station and walked north on First Avenue from the train station, followed by the subjects. Video shows the subjects running up on the victim where the robbery and shooting occurred. After the shooting, 15-year-old Subject Smith is seen running away with another 15-year-old subject, north on First Avenue and then east on Colorado Boulevard. Subject Smith is found a half a block away from the scene of the shooting by officers from the Arcadia Police Department. Subject Smith was suffering from two gunshot wounds to his upper body and two gunshot wounds to his buttocks. He was treated by paramedics and transported to a local hospital. The other 15-year-old subject was later found at a residence nearby and taken into custody. He was not injured.
The 14-year-old subject remained at the scene after he was shot by the officer. He was found lying on the street where the federal officer held him at gunpoint until officers from Arcadia Police Department arrived. The 14-year-old was treated by paramedics for two gunshot wounds and was transported to a local hospital.
Surveillance footage shows that the officer never left the scene of the shooting – nor did he run after Subject Smith onto Colorado Boulevard following the initial encounter and shooting.
The officer sustained some soft tissue damage to the side of his head where he was struck by the subjects when they assaulted him. He was also treated at a local hospital.
The handgun used by the subjects during the commission of the robbery was found near Subject Smith. The gun was found to be a replica semi-automatic handgun which looks exactly like a real handgun. The manufacturer of the gun boasts on its website that they are the masters of look-alike air guns and that their replica guns are realistic looking.
On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, an autopsy was conducted on Smith by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner which documented and confirmed the subject’s injuries.
On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence and filed Attempt Robbery Charges and Assault charges against the 14 and 15-year-old subjects involved in the attempted robbery and assault of the off-duty federal U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. The 15-year-old subject will be arraigned on June 6, 2017. The 14-year-old subject remains hospitalized for multiple gunshot wounds he received during the incident.
Although charges have been filed, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detectives are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved shooting.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or Lieutenant Corina at (323) 890-5641. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.