LANCASTER - An investigation was under way today into the death of a wanted parolee and suspected gang member who turned out to be unarmed when he was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Lancaster while allegedly running away and appearing to reach for a weapon.
The man killed late Saturday night was Christian Cobian, 26, of Lancaster, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said this morning.
Cobian was on probation following felony convictions and was wanted on a narcotics warrant, according to the Sheriff's Department.
The shooting took place in the area of at 10th Street West and Avenue J-4, near Lancaster Community Hospital, at 10:55 p.m. Saturday, said sheriff's Lt. Kim Unland. No deputies were hurt.
According to a department statement, two Lancaster Station deputies in a squad car tried to stop Cobian because he was riding a bicycle without a headlight in a dimly lit area, "but he dropped the bicycle and ran into rear of a nearby business."
The deputies chased the suspect for a short distance and saw him reaching "toward his waistband," it said, adding that the deputies, "fearing for their safety," fired on the man, who died at the scene.
"A search at the scene for a weapon was not successful," said Captain Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
Cobian was shot several times, said coroner's Lt. Joe Bale.
"He had wounds in the head, chest and left leg," he said,
Cobian's family was outraged.
"He never had nothing (a gun). He had nothing," his mother, Carmen Cobian, told ABC7. "He never did nothing to nobody."
Cobian had been attending a party following the baptism of his 10-year- old sister, relatives said.
"He went for a bike ride and didn't come back," an aunt, Erika Perez, told CBS2. "It's not fair. The police need to stop shooting people, destroy a family," she said. "He didn't deserve to die that way."
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.
A second man was detained at the scene but determined to have no involvement with Cobian.
Unland said the shooting, as is customary in such cases, was being investigated today by sheriff's homicide detectives, the coroner, the District Attorney's office and the Los Angeles County's Office of Independent Review.