A trip to the corner store turned deadly for 26-year-old Lancaster resident Christian Cobian on Saturday night, when he was pulled over by L.A. County Sheriff's deputies for riding his bike without a headlight. His aunt tells NBC LA that Cobian was at a family baptism that night, and had gone out for cigarettes.
The deputies' story is that Cobian initially refused to pull over -- and that when he did, he dropped the bicycle and ran behind a building.
It was during the subsequent pursuit that the 26-year-old was killed...
... because deputies thought they saw him reaching toward his waistband. After an exhaustive hours-long search, no weapon was found at the scene.
Like they did in the aftermath of a recent deputy assault on a homeless woman in a Bellflower bus (thankfully caught on cellphone video), L.A. County Sheriff's Department officials are stressing Cobian's troubled past. City News Service reports:
[Captain Mike] Parker described Cobian as "an Inglewood gang member who had recently moved to Lancaster'' and who was named in a felony narcotics warrant out of Inglewood stipulating he was to be held without bail when arrested.
He said the man had three felony convictions on his record and was on probation for felony receiving stolen property.
None of which the deputies knew when they fired at Cobian on Saturday night, of course. But it does explain why he got spooked and ran.
The shooting took place near 10th Street West and Avenue J-4, around 10:55 p.m. The coroner found Cobian riddled in bullet wounds -- in all of his head, chest and leg.
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Earlier this year, a young man who appears to be Cobian wrote the following in his "about me" section on Facebook:
"7even years bad luck over. finally discharged parole time served get off my back. if u lost it and i found it its mine. don't make promises u cant keep u make yourself and those around u look bad.always keep it true so that your not the one who's running from a lie."
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The Facebook user lists himself as an Inglewood resident and graduate of Inglewood High. He says he attended Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
"He wasn't doing anything wrong, and he didn't deserve to die this way," his aunt tells NBC LA. And a neighbor says: "If anything they could've used bean bags or whatever they use, but they killed that little boy."
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