Following the fatal shooting of an armed man by deputies at a busy Lynwood intersection Saturday captured on video by a cell phone camera, Los Angeles sheriff’s officials released additional imaged depicting the suspect clutching a handgun throughout the deadly encounter.
Nicholas Robertson, 28, of Lynwood died at the scene of the shooting, which unfolded just before 11 a.m. Saturday at Long Beach Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue, according to Los Angeles county sheriff’s and coroner officials.
Graphic cell phone camera video obtained by KTLA depicts deputies firing more than 30 bullets at Robertson, more than a dozen of which were fired as the seemingly wounded suspect crawls away from the deputies.
Sheriff’s officials released new images taken from area surveillance cameras during a news conference Sunday showing the suspect brandishing a handgun — described by investigators as a .45-caliber pistol — prior to and during the confrontation with deputies.
“He retained the weapon throughout the event. The weapon was recovered from directly beneath him,” Capt. Steve Katz of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
Witnesses, as well as physical evidence, indicated Robertson had fired his gun six to seven times into the air before deputies arrived on scene in response to half-a-dozen 911 calls reporting a gunman walking down the street, Katz said.
The gun was unloaded when recovered, however two live rounds were sitting within Robertson’s grasp, Katz said.
The gunman refused the deputy’s orders to drop his handgun and continued walked toward a gas station filled with customers, officials said.
As the suspect walked, gun in his left hand, “The movement of the suspect indicated he was motioning in the direction of the deputy sheriffs,” Katz said. The captain said Robertson motioned his weapon in deputies’ direction, but stopped short of alleging he pointed the gun at the deputies.
“The suspect presented a threat to the deputies and the community, and they took the action that they did,” Katz said. The suspect was not believed to have fired his gun toward deputies.
The information released Sunday differed from the sheriff’s departments initial account of the shooting, relayed in a written statement Saturday afternoon, which described the gun recovered from Robertson as “loaded” and stated that “Witnesses in the immediate area said they saw the suspect turn and point the gun at the deputies prior to the shooting.”
The motive for Robertson’s alleged bizarre behavior while armed was unclear, as was whether he may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“The information that we have at this point is that there may have been some domestic discord between him and a spouse that may have been a factor that agitated him to some degree, but we haven’t really verified that information yet,” Katz said.
Sheriff’s officials asked coroner’s investigators to expedite their investigation, including toxicology tests, he added.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell promised a comprehensive and transparent investigation.
“I want to ensure the public that the sheriff’s department takes deputy-involved shootings very seriously and that this investigation will be handled with the utmost professionalism and integrity,” he said.
The two involved deputies have been “reassigned from field duty, and they will remain so until we’ve gathered the facts and completed out assessment,” McDonnell said.
The involved deputies were not identified Sunday. Katz described them both as having one year and 18 months experience “in the field,” respectively.
“(Robertson) has had prior contacts with the criminal justice system, but we won’t go into great detail about him at this point,” McDonnell said.
Robertson had several misdemeanor and infraction convictions in his past, but no felonies, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
Most recently, Robertson was convicted of assault in May and sentenced to four days in jail and two years of probation, records show. He also had convictions for driving on a suspended or revoked license, DUI while underage, causing a disturbance on public transit and trespassing.
The sheriff asked that anyone with additional information or video regarding the shooting to contact the sheriff’s homicide detectives, who are spearheading the investigation.
The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau can be reached at 323-890-5500.
Surveillance video, photos *below) provided by LASD: