LOS ANGELES — A 34-year-old man was identified Tuesday as the person walking on an interstate — and who officials say was armed with a stun gun — before he was fatally shot by a California Highway Patrol officer, officials said.
Los Angeles resident Jesse Dominguez died at a hospital after the confrontation with law enforcement Sunday, according to a Los Angeles County coroner’s report, though his cause of death has not been formally disclosed.
The name of the CHP officer involved in Sunday’s shooting had not been disclosed as of Tuesday afternoon.
The confrontation unfolded a little after 3 p.m. as a portion of Interstate 105 in Los Angeles County was shut down following 911 calls of a man walking on the freeway.
Video circulating on social media appeared to show the CHP officer tussling with the man on the pavement before shooting him at close range. The man had used a stun gun on the officer, who then opened fire, according to the CHP.
A use-of-force expert said the officer could’ve reasonably viewed a stun gun or Taser to be nearly as dangerous as any firearm.
A stun could “could cause a grave and immediate threat to anyone” and “you don’t want an officer being stunned and his weapon taken away,” said former California police officer and sheriff’s deputy Ed Obayashi.
Obayashi is regularly asked by law enforcement agencies to investigate officer-involved shootings.
Obayashi did question why the officer confronted the man one-on-one when the freeway had been cleared and there didn’t appear to be anyone in immediate danger.
“The problem is, if I got distance between an individual with a stun gun and myself, then there’s an opportunity to de-escalate, an opportunity to retreat,” Obayashi said Tuesday.
“That side of the 105 was shut down so there’s no danger to anyone. My question would be what compelled this officer to approach this individual?” he said. “There’s a zillion cops here so I don’t know why this cop was by himself and approaching this individual? That’s going to be a fundamental question.”
Andrew Blankstein reported from Los Angeles and David K. Li from New York City.