BELLFLOWER (CBSLA.com) —A suspected jewelry robber was killed Friday afternoon in a deputy-involved shooting in Bellflower.
Although police haven’t named the suspect, his family members identified him as 22-year-old Tony Francis.
The shooting happened around 2:15 p.m. in the 9400 block of Alondra Boulevard.
KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez said the incident apparently began as a robbery in progress at a tire shop.
One man told Fernandez that the suspect came in and allegedly snatched a gold chain from one of the workers.
Authorities said something similar.
“The suspect was hitting the victim in the face numerous times and stole an item from the victim,” said Lt. Holly Francisco.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, Francis reportedly ran back inside the business.
Deputies said they were forced to shoot the suspect during the robbery.
“The suspect then began to run away from the deputy. The deputy followed him and when the suspect reached and grabbed toward his waistband, the deputy, believing that he was armed, fired at the suspect,” said Francisco.
Family members said Francis was a family man with a good job and a daughter with no need to rob or steal, let alone have a gun.
“Tony wasn’t a violent person. He had a 2-year-old daughter, he had a family, he had a job. For them to say… he was reaching for a gun is crazy. Tony wasn’t that kind of person,” said his cousin, Dont’e Strong.
Francis’ family is looking for answers.
“There’s no reason for Tony to be dead right now. Regardless of whether or not he committed a crime or not. Some people don’t care, but we care. We’re still here,” said Strong.
No gun has been recovered from the scene.