UPDATE — Downey Police Chief Rick Esteves announced in a statement on Tuesday that the police officer involved in the shooting of Michael Lee Nida has been placed on paid administrative leave.
He also offered his condolences to Nida’s family and friends.
The release also revealed that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is completing the investigation and then sending it straight to the District Attorney to “avert any conflict of interest.”
PREVIOUSLY — Downey police officers admitted Sunday that they shot and killed an unarmed man in a case of mistaken identity, reports CBS Los Angeles.
The victim, Michael Lee Nida from South Gate, is survived by his wife of fourteen years and their four children. Tuesday would have been his 32nd birthday, according to KTLA.
According to a statement released Sunday by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (they are currently investigating the case), Downey police officers in the area were responding to reports of an armed burglary when they spotted Nida, whom they thought was acting suspiciously.
Officers tried to detain him, but he got away three times. During a short foot pursuit, an officer shot Nida, who later died at a local hospital. The officer who shot him claimed that Nida had turned toward him “in an aggressive manner,” leading police to believe he had a weapon — but none was recovered at the scene.
Nida’s family members told KCAL9 that the victim was at a nearby gas station in the area with his wife when he decided to cross the street and head toward a tobacco shop. It was then that he was spotted by police officers and chased down. Nida’s sister, Terri Teramura, told KCAL9 that Nida had been shot at least five times in the back.
The two suspects originally sought for the armed robbery are still missing, according toNBC Los Angeles.
This is the second time this month that Downey officers have fatally shot someone. A homeless man from Huntington Park was killed after charging at officers with a pocket knife, according to The Downey Patriot.
Those who wish to give to Nida’s memorial fund to help with burial costs can send donations to:
Michael Nida Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 3272
Huntington Beach, CA 92605