Relatives of an Echo Park man shot by cops last week say he was unarmed despite allegations by the LAPD that he appeared to have pointed a gun at officers pursuing him.
Family members plan to hold a vigil tomorrow for David Martinez, who is said to be on the edge of death at a hospital.
The confrontation was captured on video, but the suspect's actions are hard to decipher because the footage is dark:
In a statement over the weekend the LAPD acknowledged that they could not find a weapon following the 12:20 a.m. confrontation March 19 at Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
But police have so far insisted that Martinez, whom they say is an Echo Park Gang member, had a handgun and squeezed the trigger twice.
In fact cops say the reason they were there was because someone had phoned in an “assault with a deadly weapon” report that included the assertion that two shots had been fired.
According to an LAPD statement, when officers responding to that call came across Martinez, he allegedly …
… failed to comply with the officers' commands to drop the pistol. As Martinez ran from the officers, he turned and raised his arm pointing what the officers believed to be a pistol at them at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred.
In a statement sent to the Weekly, family members say Martinez, also known as “Dizzy” was shot in the head by cops as he was “out getting tacos with his family and friends.”
Family members, present at the shooting, claim that police officers approached Martinez as he waited for his wife to return from a taco truck and open fire on him after a brief verbal exchange. Police could not recover a weapon because Martinez was unarmed.
LAPD officials say Martinez was in stable condition at a hospital. The family says he's in intensive care and that “it is not clear if he will survive from the gunshot wounds.”
Relatives will display a giant get-well card during the noontime vigil at Sunset and Echo Park tomorrow.