Charley Saturmin Robinet, 39, has been identified by Los Angeles Times sources as the homeless man fatally shot Sunday during an altercation with LAPD officers in the downtown area of the city known as Skid Row.
But The Times is reporting that Robinet is not the man’s legal name, but is in fact a stolen identity he has been known as for several years.
Here’s what you need to know about the shooting victim:
1. He Stole a Frenchmen’s Identity to get Into the United States 15 Years Ago
For about 15 years, Charley Saturmin Robinet was a federal prisoner. The former federal prisoner was fatally shot by the LAPD on Sunday. But the real Charley Saturmin Robinet is “alive and living in France,” Axel Cruau, the French consul general in Los Angeles, told the LA Times on Tuesday.
According to the Times, Cruau said the man stole the Frenchmen’s identiy when he came to the United States more than 15 years ago. It is also how the man is identified in federal court documents related to a 15-year-old bank robbery conviction. Cruau told the Times that Robinet stole a passport and identity to get into the U.S.
The man identified by police as Robinet was released from prison last year and deportation proceedings were started, but Cruau notified American officials that “Robinet” is not who he said he was. Cruau told the Times he’s not sure what happened after that. Federal court records show that “Robinet” was released from prison in 2014 and had no place to live, so he was put into a program to assist him.
The coroner’s office said only the victim is a 39-year-old man, pending notification of the man’s family.
On the street, the homeless man went by the names “Africa” and “Cameroon,” according to other homeless residents of Skid Row and activists.
“Africa” was known to have mental health issues, activists have said.
Andy Bales, the CEO of a Skid Row homeless shelter, told CNN that “Africa” would often help shelter employees clean up, describing him as gentle and kind. But, Bales told CNN he had an erratic side:
I attribute the erratic behavior to this difficult environment out here. … There is no other major city in the U.S. that has a skid row like our. 2,000 human beings living on the street. Until we deal with that, we’re going to continue to have an explosive situation.
2. He Robbed the Bank to Pay for Acting Classes
The man who went by Robinet was convicted 15 years ago of robbing a bank in Thousand Oaks, California along with two other men, according to the LA Times report.
He was 24 in 2000 when he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, according to a Los Angeles Daily News article from the time. He initially told police he took part in the robbery to pay for acting classes, but later claimed innocence at his sentencing, the Daily News reported. But prosecutors said he was arrested after a foot chase and found to have more than $33,000 taken from the bank.
According to the federal Bureau of Prisons, he was released from custody in May 2014.
3. He Spent Time in a Psychiatric Hospital
Court documents show that the man identified as Robinet spent time in a federal prison hospital in Minnesota, and in 2005 prison officials requested that he be moved to a psychiatric facility. He initially refused the transfer and the government sued to force the move, but he eventually voluntarily allowed the move to happen, according to court records. The documents do not state how long he spent in the facility.
4. Police Say He Went for an Officer’s Gun
A man named Anthony Blackburn took video of the incident on his cell phone camera and posted it to Facebook Sunday afternoon. The video shows police fighting with the victim and a woman near a tent on a Skid Row sidewalk. The officers can be heard apparently yelling “drop the gun” as they struggle with the man on the ground. Five shots are then heard as bystanders scream and scatter. The officers then begin clearing the area.
“That man never was a threat,” witness Lonnie Franklin told the Los Angeles Times. “The amount of officers present at the time could have subdued him.”
According to police, the officers from the Central Area district and the “Safer City Initiative,” which patrols Skid Row, were responding to a reported robbery in the 500 block of San Pedro Street when the incident occurred.
Police said in a press release that the robbery suspect began “fighting and physically resisting” the officers when they tried to take him into custody. The officers tried to use a Taser to subdue the man, but they said he continued to fight and they fell to the ground with him. Police said it was then that the shooting occurred:
While on the ground, the suspect and the officers struggled over one of the officer’s handguns and then an officer-involved shooting occurred.
Two of the officers suffered minor injuries and were treated and released from the hospital, police said.
5. The Shooting Happened Near Where He Lived(Getty)
The Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles is known as an area where many homeless people live, many with mental illness, according to CNN.
“Africa” was living in a tent near where the shooting occurred, according to reports.