Deputies fired 13 shots, at least four of them struck Cobian, autopsy shows

Christian Cobian

LANCASTER – A Hispanic man who was killed in an alley six weeks ago by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies was shot at least four times, according to a copy of the autopsy report obtained by The AV Times.

Christian Cobian, 26, suffered a potentially fatal gunshot wound to the right side of the head, a nonfatal gunshot wound to the right shoulder, a fatal gunshot wound to the left chest, a nonfatal gunshot wound to the scrotum, and a potentially fatal wound to the back of the left thigh, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Case Report. The gunshot wounds to the head and right shoulder could possibly have come from the same bullet, according to the report.

The shooting happened around 10:55 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, according to a Sheriff’s press report released the day after the incident. Cobian was riding a bicycle without a headlight in a dimly lit area near 10th Street West and Avenue J-4 when two Lancaster Station deputies in a two-deputy patrol car attempted to make contact with Cobian, according to the press report.

“The suspect ignored the deputies’ commands to stop, dropped the bicycle, and ran into the rear of a nearby business,” reads the Sheriff’s press report.

A more detailed synopsis in the Coroner’s Autopsy Report reads:

He was seen holding a bulge at his waistband and ran into the rear parking lot. He continued running along the building, stopped at the trash can, turned around with his hand in his waistband and the 2 deputies fired shots striking the decedent [Cobian].

Cobian was chased on foot by one deputy, while the second deputy followed in a radio car, according to the coroner investigator’s narrative.  Both deputies fired a total of 13 shots, and at least four of those shots hit Cobian, according to the report.

Cobian was found in the southwest corner of the parking lot, supine (on his back, face up) on the ground between the trash dumpster closest to the building and metal pipes. He was wearing a black shirt, black belt, blue pants, black boxers and black shoes, according to the narrative. There was a pink bicycle on the sidewalk between the University of Antelope Valley building and 10th Street West, according to the narrative.

Paramedics were notified, responded to the scene and pronounced death at 11:15 p.m., according to the coroner’s narrative.

Per policy, the coroner’s office does not elaborate on the information in an autopsy report, according to Chief Coroner Craig Harvey.

Calls and emails to Sheriff’s spokesmen Mike Parker and Steve Whitmore were not immediately returned Friday. Sheriff’s officials have said that no weapon was recovered from the scene.

View the entire Cobian Autopsy report here.

Read related stories here:

Man shot dead by Lancaster deputies Saturday

Mayor comments on deputy-involved shooting; supports deputies

NAACP blasts City leaders for comments on deputy-involved shooting

Families, activists unite to demand accountability in deputy-involved shootings

  28 comments for “Deputies fired 13 shots, at least four of them struck Cobian, autopsy shows

  1. AV Town Crier
    March 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

    My hat’s off to all you geniuses who have solved the case.
    1. The coroner’s report is only one of 4 of 5 concurrent investigations. This report does NOT attempt to explain or place any judgement as to the circumstances. It’s just a statement of fact and one piece of the puzzle.

    2. The DA has a team of investigators that over sees the collection of evidence and reviews it to determine what, if any laws may have been violated and files charges if appropriate.

    3. LASD internal affairs conducts an investigation into whether or not the deputies involved A.) Followed departmental policies. If not, then it’s turned over to sheriff’s command for disciplinary action. B.) If they feel the deputies conduct crossed the line, that finding is turned over to the DA.

    3. Robbery/homicide do an investigation and collection and analysis of the evidence. That information is shared by all the different bodies that are conducting the investigation.

    4. There’s a citizens over-site committee (of some sort) that over sees and reviews ALL investigations to make sure that the public interest is served.

    As of this moment. we (the public and news media) have NOT received any other reports.

    For the record, as far as police shootings; they have the same rights as you or I. if you feel your life or that of someone else is in eminent danger, you (we) have the right to use deadly force.

    As far as the number of shots fired, that took a grand total of less than two seconds. The investigation will look at the surroundings, angle of shots, position of officers when shooting occurred and weather or not the deputies were aware of what was behind the suspect when they discharged their weapons. I was at the scene within minutes. yes there are apartments, etc. But there was a high wall separating the alley from them.

    The investigator’s will determine if the deputies fired recklessly or that they were aware of the wall and the angle they were shooting did not endanger anyone.

    Could the officers been lying. yes they could have. But their stories will have to jibe with the evidence.

    But, like you or I, the officers testimony (under oath) has to be considered true until proven otherwise (in which case, they have committed felony perjury).

    But, as has been stated by others on this posting, the suspect ran. Sorry folks, that’s a red -flag. At that point, the situation changes. The deputies have no way of knowing why the suspect ran and if he’s armed and dangerous. The minute he made a move toward a possible weapon, the officers involved have to make a split-second judgment. perhaps yo or I had we been in the same situation might have made another choice. But that is NOT the case.

    Perhaps police policy on these types of situation has to be re-evaluated and perhaps tightened up as to when officers can discharge their weapon. But, right now, we have to accept the policy that is in place and has been determined to be the legal standard. The on-going investigation will determine if the officers followed said policy or perhaps committed a criminal act.

    Before you ALL place judgment on the cops as always being the bad guy, just remember how many cops have died protecting you!

    • Matt S
      March 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

      How many cops have died for us here in the valley? Not to be biotchy, just curious.

      • AV Town Crier
        March 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

        Over the years there have been several. don’t ask for names because, sadly, my memory is failing with age. Steve Sorensen (sp) is one and there’s a park named after him. There have been others.

        But let’s not forget those who have been injured as well.

        • David Cox
          March 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          Here is a recent listing of the LASD deputies who have died in the line of duty here in the Antelope Valley: Pierre Bain (2006), Steve Sorensen (2003) and Richard B. Hammack (1992). Source: LASD Internet site here

          Steve Sorensen has a park named after him in the Lake Los Angeles unincorporated area. Pierre Bain has a park named after him (formerly Eastside Park) in the City of Lancaster, where he was killed. Richard B. Hammack has a community center named after him in downtown Palmdale.

          Hammack was the first local LASD deputy in recent times to die in the line of duty. My memory says this was a gang related case. At the time, it was quite a shock to residents that this kind of activity and violence could occur here. In my mind, it marked the end of “peaceful small town Antelope Valley” and the start of “suburban/urban more lawless Antelope Valley.”

          Hammack may well have been the first LASD deputy to die in the line of duty while stationed in the Antelope Valley. Since I don’t have access to the vaults of a certain local newspaper with decades of files to peruse, I don’t know for absolute certain. My memory says he is very likely the very first of LASD deputies to die in the line of duty. I was born and raised here if that makes a difference.

          • AV Town Crier
            March 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

            Thanks David. That clears up a lot.

          • T-Bone
            March 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm

            I think Hammack was serving a search warrant (lead possition of the entry team)and the guy waited for them to come down the hallway and started shooting. Drug related more them Gang related. No matter what the result is the same and he did not deserve it. That is why I say, This guy ran, He knew he was taking a chance of dying.

    • Stinger
      March 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Very well thought out and intelligently explained, AVTC.

  2. T-Bone
    March 4, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Everyone knows if you play with fire you get burnt! Everyone should also know by now, If you don’t do what the Cops say, you will get shot! Even if you are just being pulled over for speeding you keep both hands on the wheel for fear the Cop will think you are going for something. There is no chance this guy didn’t know if you run, you are definitely taking a chance of loosing your life. A little common sence could have saved his life! You Play, You Pay!

    • G
      March 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      you should be shot! next then.

      • T-Bone
        March 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm

        You make no sense Little g. When I ran I got away but I also knew I was taking a chance of being shot. Don’t hate reality.

        • James
          March 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

          You’re so cool! I hope your illegitimate kids grow up to be just like you!

          • T-Bone
            March 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

            You sound stupid James but I guess to your teenage friends you are a hero. Go read a book…

  3. Some Dude
    March 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Even IF the action of firing shots was justified by action taken by Cobain (i.e. reaching into his waistband), pulling their triggers that many times is ridiculous. I wasn’t there, nor have I seen any video but recklessly firing shots without regard for the apartment complex that is RIGHT ALONGSIDE the alley way or the homeless people who tend to take up residence in the alleyway sometimes shows disregard for everyone’s safety. It was a young guy, not a frigging zombie.

    • Alex
      March 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Most officers are trained to get off as many safe shots as possible to stop the suspect. It is not unrealistic that guys who go to the range relatively often, got off more than six shots (which a normal trained officer should be able to do) in quick succession, some one who goes to the range even more often could realistically get to 8 shots in rapid succession.

      So these were average cops, with at least normal range time, so six shots each would be normal with a modern semi-automatic with a normal range of ammunition and a well maintained gun.

      This is not overkill, they did not reload their weapons, and they did not empty their magazines. The fact they did not empty their magazines is a pretty good indication they were not panicking when they fired. Someone who panics usually keeps pulling that trigger till the tunnel vision goes away and they realize the gun isn’t doing anything anymore.

  4. adam
    March 3, 2012 at 8:16 am

    James, I have always wondered if putting officers in the jails for training in the first place isn’t the root cause of all the strong handedness on the streets. There is no doubt that it teaches officers how to understand the criminal mind, but does it also condition officers to always expect a violent conflict, leading to aggressive and often fatal actions on the part of the officers? In my mind it looks like officers are only trained to deal with the criminal element and left to their own devices in dealing with the other 85% of the population. Considering every male from 14 to 30 tend to buck authority and compounded with high unemployment and poverty it’s no wonder people are being shot so often.
    At the sme time there are over 150,000 people just around Lancaster, if every interaction with officers was violent then there would be a lot more dead people around here. So odds are that those who run are likely to be guilty of something and shooting them is a swift form of justice. even if it turns out to be just some cigaweed or previous convictions…lol

    • James
      March 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Where I live now the Sheriff is also in charge of jailing as is the LASD. They term the jails “land of the misfits” because if you can’t make it on the street as a Patrol Deputy it’s where you end up for the rest of your career. The reason they start them in the Jail is for the fact it helps them build communication skills. If you’re able to talk down a combative person in the jails without always resorting to violence then you should do well on the streets. That still doesn’t mean starting them in the jails isn’t the root cause as you say, that’s very possible.

      Having lived in the AV for 20 years I’m just tired of people being killed by the LASD for what seems to be no reason. This guy had a “bulge in his pants” that he was grabbing at. Did they ever say what that bulge was? Maybe he was just pulling his pants up. Either way you have to ask yourself, do you think those officers legitimately feared for their lives when he “grabbed at a bulge” in his waistband? I don’t think they did. I think one of them shot prematurely and the other followed suit and they made up the rest.. it happens.. it may have been an accident. But instead of saying it was such they make up a story that is not so easy to confirm as the victim is dead and only the deputies were there.

      • Jo
        March 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

        To understand the problems with our local law enforcement, you need to read this article. Because of this 4 part article on the sheriffs, the board of supervisors passed a new regulation couple weeks ago, stating supervisors can no longer ask their employees for political donations.

      • Jason
        March 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        The bulge was a meth pipe he was trying to ditch.

        • sil bravo
          March 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

          He was shot ever think if he was shot first n ran or grabbed towards his waist because he was hurt. Ignorance n lack of empathy is a shame n waste of ur soul n just like we stand before eachother as human beings u will or we will stand to be judged to a higher law than this land. Good luck to u n ur soul obviously u need it with the sense of humor u have developed may u never or anyone u care for have to deal with pain n sadness caused by another ignorant individual like you.

          • Jason
            March 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

            Ever think that he was shot because he was reaching for his waistband ignoring the commands of an officer to put his hands up and quit running? He was a felon who had a warrant out for his arrest. He gets caught with drug paraphenilia hes gets in even more trouble.

            The only ignorant individuals are the ones who refuse to acknowledge that the officers just may have been in the right and the deceased played a huge role in his death.

  5. James
    March 3, 2012 at 4:38 am

    You “seen” the “camera”? REALLY?!

    Having grown up in the AV I know your language (Ebonics/Ignorant Speak). Let me help others understand.. what he would have said in English is “I saw for my own eyes, a recording of what happened.”

    I highly doubt this though as it’s the first I’ve heard of any video. Stay in school (or get your dropout ass back in) and STOP doing drugs.

    • ha
      March 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Again u really understand or assume to understand take the plank out ur eye

  6. James
    March 3, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Only 4 out of 13 hit their target? Sounds like these deputies need some time on the firing lines.. and some time back in the Jails where they don’t need guns to do their jobs.

    • Stinger
      March 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      It tells me that the deputies were likely scared as hell and that this affected their shooting – which is why they are supposed to spend so much time on the shooting range. Thank goodness none of the remaining rounds hit somebody else further downrange of the incident.

      I also noticed in the coroner’s report that none of the rounds made entry in the back, as some people had been insisting was the case on this.

      Surely a tragedy for all involved. My condolences on both sides of this situation.

    • Yes_Yes
      March 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Yes please, more time on the range for these deputies. Every bullet is such a precious thing to waste!

      • Stinger
        March 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

        I don’t think you quite understand my point, “Yes_Yes.” It is not the bullet that is precious. It is where the bullet goes that could be precious. Therefore, a law enforcement officer MUST use caution to make sure that his/her bullets hit only their intended target.

        Trying to shoot at a moving suspect in the middle of a high-stress combat stiuation is difficult. This is why it is so important to practice with one’s weapons constantly to keep your accuracy under stress.

  7. G
    March 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    there is a video of what happened i seen the camera for myself.

    • Storyline
      March 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Huh? You “seen the camera for” yourself? Okay, another example of the public school system…

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