Man shoots, kills self after accidentally shooting best friend in Willowbrook - police

WILLOWBROOK, LOS ANGELES -- A man shot and killed himself after accidentally shooting and killing his best friend in a struggle over a gun, police said Sunday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Century Station deputies responded to a call of gunshots in the 400 block of East 138th Street at 1 a.m.

Witnesses told deputies Jerrod Taylor, 23, and Dominique Cheppelle Barnett, 24, were hanging out with about 10 to 15 others in front of the location when Barnett brandished a handgun. Taylor attempted to take it away from him and a brief struggle ensued.

The handgun discharged, striking Taylor in the head, police said. Barnett turned the weapon on himself about 30 seconds later. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Taylor was transported to a local hospital, where he died as a result of his injury.

"I'm sure Dominique did get distraught over shooting his best friend. He didn't see an out. I wish he would have called me," said Barnett's father, Antoine.

No other injuries were reported. A handgun was recovered at the scene.

Taylor had recently become a father, family members said.

"(He had) positive things going on for him in his life, good job, (he had) his little family. He was just trying to do what's right," said Taylor's stepmother, Latanya.

Police are interviewing witnesses. They said Barnett did not brandish the gun in a threatening manner before the shooting.

"There was no animosity or no anger between the two for this to occur," said Det. Steven Lankford with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. "It was a situation where it was just a tragic accident that resulted in two individuals losing their lives."

Deputies are investigating whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.

Anyone with information about this incident was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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