LOS ANGELES (AP) — The half-brother of a black man recently found hanged in a Southern California park was fatally shot by police after opening fire on deputies about to arrest him on charges that he beat his girlfriend and held her captive for nearly a week, according to authorities and court documents.
The shootout occurred Wednesday afternoon as members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Major Crimes Bureau tried to stop a blue sport utility vehicle driven by a woman police described as another former girlfriend of Terron J. Boone. A 7-year-old girl was a passenger along with Boone.
The SUV came to a stop in a parking lot of an apartment complex in Rosamond, a Kern County desert community north of Los Angeles County, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies shouted “hands up!” and Boone opened the passenger door and began firing from a semiautomatic handgun, authorities said. Boone fired at least six rounds, hitting the deputies’ vehicles, said sheriff’s Lt. Robert Westphal of the homicide bureau.
Three detectives and their field supervisors returned fire, hitting Boone several times in the upper body and killing him, sheriff’s officials said. He died at the scene, where a handgun was found.
The girl and detectives were not injured. The woman driving the SUV was struck by gunfire, treated at a hospital and released.
The Kern County coroner confirmed the man was Terron Jammal Boone, 31, of Palmdale.
He was the half-brother of Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree last week in Palmdale. Jamon Hicks, an attorney for the Fuller family, confirmed Boone’s relationship to Fuller but declined to comment further Thursday.
Fuller was found in a park near Palmdale City Hall early in the morning of June 10. A preliminary autopsy was conducted the next day. The initial finding of suicide immediately prompted skepticism among the black community in an area of Los Angeles County with a racist history.
The coroner’s office said Fuller’s death appeared to be a suicide and homicide detectives said there was no evidence to the contrary at the scene. That outraged family members said authorities were too quick with that finding and failed to consider the possibility of foul play. They are seeking an independent autopsy.
More than 1,000 people turned out for a protest and memorial Saturday around the tree where Fuller’s body was found. His family and friends described him as a peacemaker who was street-smart, loved music and video games, and mostly stayed to himself. Days before he died, he attended a Black Lives Matter protest, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The FBI and state attorney general’s office on Monday announced they are monitoring the LA Sheriff Department’s investigation of the death.
Fuller was the second black man to be found hanged in a public place in Southern California in recent weeks. Malcolm Harsch, a 38-year-old homeless man, was found on May 31 in Victorville, a desert city in San Bernardino County east of Palmdale.
In Boone’s case, authorities allege he imprisoned his on-and-off girlfriend in her Palmdale home between June 9 and Monday, threatening and pistol-whipping her, court documents show. The girlfriend “waited for an opportunity when he wasn’t looking and she was able to get out, run to a business and had them call 911,” Westphal said.
Prosecutors filed 13 counts against Boone on Tuesday, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The next day, a surveillance team of deputies followed Boone to a residence in Rosamond, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Palmdale.
Boone got in the vehicle and left with the woman and child. Deputies later moved in to arrest him, and the shooting erupted.
Westphal said Boone’s motive for the kidnapping and assault remain under investigation, as is any potential link between the woman and Fuller.
Boone’s criminal record includes convictions on charges of burglary, robbery, corporal punishment or injury to a child, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His parole ended in November.