LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Family of Shonchy Thaopraseuth, 22, of San Bernardino insist he was a great guy with lots of friends.
They have no idea how or why he ended up carjacking at least two drivers Thursday. Or why he took police on a pursuit that ended with him pointing a weapon at three people at a gas station in Koreatown and the LAPD emptying as many as 30 rounds into him.
Thaopraseuth’s sister talked to KCAL9 and CBS2 reporter Greg Mills.
Through tears she said police shooting her brother was unnecessary.”They could have waited till he got out of the car. I apologize for what he did … to those people. And no one got hurt. Thank God.”
The family was actually watching KCAL9 during the pursuit and deadly confrontation. They told Mills they had no idea it was their son, their brother who was behind the wheel of the carjacked car. They watched, along with a live KCAL9 audience, when police shot and killed their loved one.
Police say Thaopraseuth carjacked two vehicles at gunpoint Thursday evening. And they say he was also threatening at least three people at the gas station with his .38 revolver.
The older sister said her brother suffered from depression, triggered by something several years ago that they aren’t even totally sure about.
“He’s not bad at all. I don’t know what happened. He’s not bad.” said Puong Ma, the sister. “My mom! The whole family — we’re like ‘what the h—. Not my brother. No one expects anything like this from my brother. No one.”
The family says they were not aware Thaopraseuth had a gun. They’re all stunned. A disbelieving Ma said, “It hurts. I still don’t believe. It’s not real. But you’re standing next to me and it doesn’t feel real. My brother was just 22. He just had a birthday last month.”