Questions still linger in Inglewood from the Mother’s Day shooting where police officers fatally shot 19-year-old Michael Byoune, and injured Larry White and Christopher Larkins, both 19.
At 1:40 a.m. shots were fired near Rally’s Hamburger on Crenshaw and Manchester. At the time of the shots White’s 2004 Honda Accord was parked in front of Rally Burger. Larkin was at the window of the burger stand ordering food and Byoune was sitting in the backseat of the car.
When shots were fired the teenagers’ reactions was to flee the scene for their safety. White started to drive south of the burger stand toward Manchester, and Larkins ran toward the car. As White stopped the car to allow Larkins to jump in a police cruiser entered the parking lot from the Manchester entrance, which was where the teenagers were attempting to exit from.
Officer Brian Regan, who has been on the force for 5 1/2 years, and Ramon Fernandez, who has been on the force for less than a year, heard more gun shots and thought that their police cruiser was struck.
Officer Regan opened fire on the Honda before Larkin was able to jump into the back seat. Regan fired while still inside the police cruiser, firing through the front windshield. Regan then got out of the cruiser, took cover behind a retaining wall, and continued to fire at the Honda.
Byoune was shot four times in the upper torso and died at the scene.
White was shot in the leg. A 12” steel rod was inserted into his thigh, and doctors have said that it is possible that his injured leg could end up shorter than his other leg after it is healed.
Larkin was grazed on the forehead and leg. Larkin yelled from the backseat “Stop shooting, we’re unarmed.”
Sixteen holes were found in the Honda, but no weapons were found on the teenagers.
Conflicting reports have been coming out of the Inglewood police department. Officers Regan and Fernandez have been placed on paid administrative leave.
According to Carl Douglas, who is representing the teenagers, the Inglewood Police Department has acknowledged that Officer Fernandez’s gun accidentally discharged while inside the police cruiser. That could have been why the officers thought that they were being fired upon.
“This tragedy demonstrates a total breakdown of normal police procedures concerning the use of deadly force,” Douglas said. “Both officers rushed to judgment assuming the young man running for his own life was in fact connected with the gunshots. These three young men were not involved in any gangs what so ever, had not broken any laws and in fact had never been arrested before in their adult lives.”
Douglas has filed a claim for damages on behalf of the teenagers.