By Felipe Vera
On Thursday, June 18, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) murdered 18-year-old Andres Guardado outside of his job, shooting him over six times. On Father’s Day, protesters took to the streets of Gardena, marching all the way to the Compton Sheriff’s Station, where they were met with tear gas and flash bangs as the protest was ending.
Andres Guardado was a young man of Salvadoran descent from Koreatown. He was working as a security guard for an auto body shop while taking classes at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Near 6pm on the 18th, his life was taken by LASD when they opened fire on him several times as he was running away from them, later claiming that he had a gun. The Sheriff’s used the fact that Andres was not wearing a uniform as a weak attempt to justify their cowardly actions.
That same night, the family went to the scene and confronted the sheriffs to demand answers, resulting in the LASD shoving family and community members at one point. Before the weekend, LASD seized footage from at least six cameras on the scene, breaking many of them as well as taking the DVR without a warrant at first.
The owner of the auto body shop, Andrew Heney, told local news that Andres ran because he was scared. He stated that “he [Andres] had a clean background and everything. I mean there’s no reason.”
On Friday, his family had a vigil at the location where he was gunned down by the sheriffs. Candles were placed across the fence with pictures of Andres and posters that people were signing across the fence. Andres’s sister Jennifer told the Tribune she got a call about Andres’s death while she was at work. She continued, “I put myself in the front of this street with his hat, this hat that I’m wearing right now is the only thing I’m ever going to have from him. I couldn’t say good bye.”
On Sunday afternoon, thousands of people marched to the Compton Sheriff’s Station, where the officers responsible for Andres’ murder were based. Both the protest and the vigil were hosted by the revisionist organization, Union del Barrio-Los Angeles.
Both lanes on the street were taken up with a visible contingent of Salvadoran flags as protesters chanted “Say his name! Andres Guardado!”
The crowd chanted “Show us the tapes!” and protesters began to throw water bottles over the metal wall, banging it harder with their shoes, creating a wall of sound as they furiously yelled at the sheriffs. At one point, “Andres Guardado, RIP” was tagged on the wall.
Guardado’s father gave a speech, as well as other families who had lost loved ones to police violence, such as the mother of Alex Flores, who was murdered by LAPD in South Central. She yelled “Malditos asesinos, que chingan a su madre! (Damn murderers, go f**k your mothers!)” to the police.
As the Union del Barrio announced that the event was ending, some protestors had walked over to the other side of the city hall, where Sheriffs were pointing weapons at protesters. A group of over 40 were in front of barricade saying “don’t shoot” and after minutes of intense yelling, the Sheriffs launched tear gas and flash grenades into the crowd. This occurred several times, directly hitting people, many needing their eyes flushed of the tear gas. As the crowd dispersed, more graffiti went up.
Several people were arrested at the protest, although Union del Barrio has been silent about this repression. Despite the police’s brutal response that entails, this past Monday, the people of Gardena, Compton, and Santa Ana in Orange County have defiantly protested to continue the fight for justice for Andres. We encourage readers stand in solidarity at protests with Andres’s community and donate to his family at either of the two links below.
Fundraiser 1: https://www.gofundme.com/f/justiceforandresguardado