Altar for Fred Barragán, killed by LAPD on 3/24/17 in Boyle Heights. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Police say the man killed by LAPD early Saturday reached for a gun before being shot by officers.

A statement released Wednesday by the LAPD offers little new information on the circumstances leading to the death of 35-year-old Fred Barragán –the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting in Boyle Heights in 14 months.

In the statement, police offer new details about the gunshots heard minutes before Barragán was killed:

“On March 24, 2017, around 11:56 p.m., uniformed Hollenbeck Area Patrol officers were patrolling, when they heard multiple gunshots being fired in rapid succession in the area of Breed Street and 1st Street. These shots were loud enough that they were heard from inside the lobby of the nearby Hollenbeck Community Police Station and were also reported by several residents of the surrounding community.

A few moments after the shots were heard, the Hollenbeck Patrol officers were traveling westbound on 1st Street towards Breed Street to determine the source of the gunfire, when they observed a male Hispanic suspect (who was later identified as Fred Barragán) walking eastbound from that location. The officers attempted to detain Barragán, but he fled on foot. The officers chased Barragán and in the brief foot pursuit, Barragán removed a handgun from his waistband and an Officer-Involved-Shooting occurred.

Barragán sustained a gunshot wound and fell in the alley way where he was taken into custody without further incident. Los Angeles City Fire Department Paramedics responded and pronounced Barragán deceased at scene. In addition, a loaded handgun was recovered from a fenced area, a short distance away from Barragán.”

The statement does not say if Barragán pointed the gun or shot at officers. On Monday, an LAPD spokesperson could not say if the earlier gunshots were related to gang activity in the area.

The LAPD says the statement is “based on a preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview witnesses, review physical and electronic records, and analyze forensic evidence” and that “facts and circumstances may change as additional evidence is collected and analyzed.”

The shooting is being investigated by the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division.

On Sunday, area residents and community activists decried the shooting at a rally and march that ended with a vigil at the site of the shooting –an alley behind the Metro Gold Line Soto station– where an altar in Barragán’s memory has been erected.

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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