June 20 (UPI) -- The family of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy, has called for an independent investigation into his death.
The deputy-involved fatal shooting occurred at about 5:52 p.m. Thursday in Gardena, an unincorporated area near West Compton, according to the sheriff's department.
Guardado's friends and family participated in a vigil and protest demanding justice Friday near the site where he was killed.
"We want justice. It's the first thing we want," his uncle, Noel Abarca, said. "We want to know why they killed him ... We need the community's support."
Deputies spotted Guardado in the 400 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard.
"The suspect looked toward the deputies and produced a firearm then proceeded to run south bound between two businesses," the department's statement said. "A short foot pursuit ensued and at the conclusion, the deputies contacted the suspect and the deputy involved shooting occurred."
No deputies were injured.
Though authorities referred to Guardado as a suspect, it wasn't made clear what they suspected his crime to be.
Guardado was shot in the upper torso and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The sheriff's department said they recovered a handgun from the scene, but Jennifer Guardado, the victim's sister, disputes that the gun was her brother's.
"This is not right," she told ABC7. "They're not going to kill an innocent person and get away with it and cover everything up. He was not armed."
The owner of an auto body shop, Andrew Heney, told CBSLA that Guardado worked as private security guard for the shop.
"We had a security guard that was out front, because we had just had certain issues with people tagging and stuff like that," Heney said. "And then the police came up, and they pulled their guns on him and he ran because he was scared, and they shot and killed him. He's got a clean background and everything. There's no reason."
Lt. Charles Caldero told reporters that Guardado wasn't wearing a uniform at the time and they did not have information about his occupation.
The deputies were not wearing body cameras, according to reports. Authorities said the investigation is in its preliminary stages.
Abarca, who works near the scene, said that deputies had already taken security cameras from the the area Friday morning and he had not seen any footage.
Abarca added that Guardado was attending Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to become a mechanic or electrician.
"His father and mom are destroyed," he said. "There are no words to tell them right now."
The Los Angeles Community College District confirmed that Guardado was a student in a statement Friday, which supported the family's call for a full and independent investigation of the fatal shooting.
"LACCD strongly supports the call by Mr. Guardado's family for a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the killing," the statement said. "His death comes at a time of national outcry for social justice and significant police reform regarding the use of deadly force by law enforcement and for greater emphasis on de-escalation techniques and community policing. We must never be desensitized to, or normalized by, the alarming number of deaths by law enforcement of black and brown men and women in this country -- it cannot be tolerated and the time for police reform is now."