On Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Terron Jammal Boone, the half brother of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old Black man who was found hanged in a tree last week in Palmdale, CA. Boone was killed Wednesday in a parking lot in Rosamond, a town 20 miles north of where his brother was found dead.
An account from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department states detectives from the department's major crimes unit were investigating a suspect in a kidnapping and assault case, The Los Angeles Times reports. Detectives were reportedly trailing Boone’s car to an apartment complex in Rosamond and attempted a traffic stop.
Deputy James Nagao claimed Boone then “opened the front passenger door of the vehicle and engaged the Deputies by firing multiple rounds at them with a handgun.” Detectives shot Boone several times in the upper torso and he was pronounced dead at the scene, they said. A woman who was driving the car was also shot and taken to a nearby hospital, and a 7-year-old, who was not injured, was allegedly sitting in the backseat of the car.
The shooting victim was not immediately identified as Boone until the Fuller family’s attorney Jamon Hicks confirmed his death in a statement.
“This afternoon I had to notify the sisters of Robert Fuller that their half-brother Terron Jammal Boone was killed by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Kern County,” said Hicks. “At this time, until we receive all of the information, the family and their legal team doesn't have any further comment on this incident. The family respectfully asks that their privacy be respected.”
Despite official accounts from the Sheriff’s Office, details of the shooting remain unclear. Lt. Robert Westphal of the LA County Sheriff’s Department told The Times that the detectives and their vehicles were not equipped with dash cameras. A home surveillance video posted to the Rosamond Community Watchdog Facebook page showed multiple vehicles driving toward the parking lot. The shooting was not recorded, but voices are heard shouting “hands up!” before a series of gunshots. An eyewitness, Siara Anderson told The Times she was on her balcony when she heard the gunshots. Anderson said she then saw a man, who appeared to be dead, slouched over in the passenger seat.
Boone’s death comes amid weeks of unrest, as cities across the country are rising up against policing and demanding the abolition of police. Boone was killed just one week after his half brother Fuller was found hanging from a tree in a square across from City Hall in Palmdale, leaving many people concerned that he was lynched. The LA County Sheriff’s Department at the time called Fuller’s death “an alleged death by suicide,” which the city of Palmdale attributed to the coronavirus pandemic. “Sadly, it is not the first such incident since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” the city said in a statement.
But the circumstances around Fuller’s death are concerning to his family, who say he was not suicidal. Many people instead believe that Fuller’s death was a lynching, with hundreds of protestors over the weekend taking the streets with demands the case be investigated further.
"For African-Americans in America, hanging from a tree is a lynching," Hicks said in a statement. "Why was this cavalierly dismissed as a suicide and not investigated as a murder? We want complete transparency."
In the last three weeks, two Black men were found hanged in California, and a Black teenage boy was found hanged in Texas. Black Lives Matter activists have demanded thorough investigations of these incidents.
The FBI said on Monday that federal authorities and the state attorney general would review investigations into the deaths of both Fuller and Malcolm Harsch in California, as a result of public pressure.
Meanwhile, the details surrounding Boone’s death in relation to the recent death of his half-brother are concerning, especially in the context of ongoing unrest regarding racist police violence across the country.
Refinery29 reached out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office for more comment. We will update this story as we know more.