SOUTH PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities said an off-duty police officer killed an armed suspect in South Pasadena early Sunday, but the man’s family is demanding answers about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Justo Quintero, 31, was reportedly driving home from his brother’s bachelor party just after 1 a.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of Arroyo Verde Road when the deadly shooting took place.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Quintero got into a confrontation with the off-duty officer, who works for Cal State Los Angeles.
“The suspect then fled the location in a vehicle before colliding with a parked vehicle a short distance away,” the department said.
Quintero suffered gunshot wounds to his upper torso. He was arrested and transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
Friends and family of Quintero described him as having left gang life years ago and turned his life around, becoming a father figure to his fiance’s three children.
“It’s not fair. It’s just not fair,” said Quintero’s fiance, Natalie Matute. “He was my love of my life.”
It was unclear what prompted the confrontation.
Quintero’s family believes he got into an altercation because he was playing loud music in his car. Authorities do not know if Quintero was driving through the neighborhood or parked at the time of the incident.
“That’s what I want to know,” said his sister, Lupe Castelar. “Was this at the residence? Was this as he was driving with the loud music?”
Investigators say a gun belonging to Quintero was found at the scene, but it was not known if he fired the weapon.
“From what I know is that he was fleeing already wounded,” said Castelar.
The bullet wounds reportedly caused Quintero to crash into another car. He later died at the hospital.
Quintero’s fiance said he carried a gun because he had been attacked by gang members in recent years. She does not believe he drew his gun on the off-duty officer.
The officer, who lives in the neighborhood, suffered minor injuries in the incident. He declined to speak to reporters Monday.
The sheriff’s department is investigating the shooting but has not released the officer’s name.
Anyone with information about the incident was encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323)890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800)222-TIPS (8477).