Armed man with machete discharged by police in Whittier

Tonito Vasquez's relatives said he had a mental illness.

Photo courtesy of the family

A man in possession of a machete who, according to his relatives, suffered from a mental illness, He was shot deadly by three agents from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in Whitter on Sunday night, authorities said.

One made a call to 911 around 8:10 p.m. informing that A man was screaming and knocking on the doors of his neighbors while holding a machete. The agents who arrived found the suspect inside the house. A mental assessment team was sent with officers from the Sheriff's Department to speak with the suspect. After two hours, the team determined that the suspect was no longer a threat after talking to him.

Approximately 30 minutes later, another 911 call was made from the suspect's mother inside the house, her family said. The suspect said he wanted the police to shoot him, the caller said.

The responding agents found the suspect in the garage with a machete and ordered him to drop the gun. The suspect advanced towards the agents while armed with the machete when three of the four agents opened fire. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

His family identified him as Tonito Vásquez, 37. He suffered from a mental illness and was a father and grandfather, his family said.

There are several questions around the fatal shooting, including why the man was not placed in psychiatric assistance during the initial response.

The three officers involved in the shooting were licensed.

The names of the deputies were not immediately revealed.


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