PALMDALE — The Antelope Valley African-American Leadership Council — a coalition of local civil rights activists led by former Lancaster mayor Henry Hearns — has issued a statement regarding the fatal deputy-involved shooting Dec. 20 in Palmdale.
Leroy Browning, 30, of Palmdale, died at the hospital following a 3 a.m. shooting outside the Taco Bell on the 37900 block of 47th Street East.
“We trust in [Palmdale Sheriff’s Station] Captain Ford’s leadership and integrity that a thorough, honest and fair investigation will take place regarding the death of Mr. Browning,” reads the statement from the Antelope Valley African-American Leadership Council. Read the full statement below or view it here:
Antelope Valley African-American Leadership Council Statement on African-American Male Killed by Sheriff Deputy in Palmdale, California
The African-American Leadership Council is deeply concerned about the untimely death of Mr. Leroy Browning, who was shot and killed on Sunday, December 20, 2015, at Taco Bell, by a Sheriff Deputy in Palmdale, California.
“We have reached out to the family of Mr. Browning and our heart and prayers go out to his family during this most difficult time,” said Bishop Henry Hearns, Chair of the Antelope Valley African-American Leadership Council (AV-AALC).
With the recent police shootings taking place across the nation in the African-American community, we are rightly concerned about any police shooting taking place in our own backyard—Palmdale.
While we understand and appreciate the risks our Sheriff Deputies take every day in policing our community, we are equally concerned with respect to how that policing is administered.
We have been in contact with Captain Don Ford from the Palmdale Sheriff Station, and will be following this matter with great detail and interest. The taking of anyone’s life is precious and valuable. Despite the circumstances under which Mr. Browning died, his life was valuable and precious and his death will not be dismissed as a simple shooting and fatality without a thorough investigation and follow-through from our community leaders.
We trust in Captain Ford’s leadership and integrity that a thorough, honest and fair investigation will take place regarding the death of Mr. Browning.
The African-American Leadership Council will continue to monitor this case closely to ensure that justice and fairness prevail and that the family of Mr. Browning receive a full understanding of why and how he died.
We ask the community to keep the family in prayer and to maintain peace as we investigate this matter.
Leroy Browning was killed in a deputy-involved shooting that occurred after his vehicle crashed near the Taco Bell drive-through.
Deputies were dispatched to the fast-food restaurant on a report that a motorist appeared to be unconscious after a vehicle crashed, according to Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“When deputies arrived, they made contact with the suspect/driver, and based on initial observations, they began to conduct a driving under the influence investigation,” Hernandez said in a sheriff’s press release.
Browning was placed in the rear of a patrol car, and deputies then decided to place him under arrest, Hernandez said. When they tried to handcuff him, he jumped out of the patrol car and began fighting with a deputy, Hernandez said.
“Other deputies came to the deputy’s aid as the fight was taken to the ground,” Hernandez said.
“At some point during the fight, the suspect grabbed (hold) of the deputy’s weapon,” Hernandez said. “The deputy immediately attempted to retain his weapon while he advised the other deputies that the suspect was trying to remove his weapon.
“The deputies attempted to subdue the suspect, to no avail, as the suspect refused to relinquish his grasp on the deputy’s weapon,” Hernandez said.
“Fearing the suspect was a threat and danger to himself, the deputies, and others, a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” Hernandez said.
Browning was wounded and was taken to a hospital, where he died. The deputies were treated for cuts, bruises, and abrasions, Hernandez said.
“During the course of their investigation, detectives located a blue- steel pistol and a large baggie of marijuana located inside the suspect’s vehicle,” Hernandez said.
At the time of the shooting, Browning was wanted on a warrant stemming from a home-invasion robbery in which a victim was shot, according to the sheriff’s department.
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