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Homeless Man Fatally Shot By LAPD Is Identified After Conning French, U.S. Governments

The mystery over who the man was depended after the French consulate said he had stolen the identity of one of its citizens years ago.

Last updated on March 5, 2015, at 6:52 p.m. ET

Posted on March 3, 2015, at 3:03 p.m. ET

A man shot and killed while struggling with Los Angeles Police officers on Skid Row Sunday has been identified as 43-year-old Charley Leundeu Keunang.

The man killed in the recorded struggle was at first identified as a French national, but law enforcement officials said the man killed Sunday had assumed the identity of a French citizen.

Keunang was identified Thursday by Los Angeles County coroner officials.

The Los Angeles Times reported Keunang was a Cameroonian national, but stole the identity to come to the United States in the 1990s.

He had been convicted of a bank robbery in 2000 and was supposed to be deported in 2013, until French officials rescinded the required documents.

The homeless man fatally shot by Los Angeles police on Sunday had stolen the identity of a French man and was living under an assumed name, consulate officials said Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the French Consulate told the Los Angeles Times and Southern California Public Radio's KPCC that the man had stolen the identity of Charley Saturmin Robinet in order to get a French passport to come to the United States in the late 1990s.

His true identity, though, went unnoticed for years, even after he was arrested along with two accomplices for robbing a Wells Fargo bank in Thousand Oaks, just outside Los Angeles.

Authorities said he had pistol-whipped a bank employee who was slow in handing over money. Prosecutors told media at the time that the man had admitted to the robbery in order to fund his acting lessons. However, he claimed innocence at trial, claiming he had been knocked unconscious during the robbery and ensuing getaway.

When he was convicted in 2000, French authorities offered support, as they do with all their citizens. That's when they discovered the ID theft, the AP reported.

French officials then reportedly notified the Department of Homeland Security of the fake identity after confirming that the real Charley Saturmin Robinet "is alive and in France."

French officials said they did not know what happened after they reported the identity theft, and it's unclear what the man's status was upon being released from prison in May 2014.

"He fooled a lot of people, including us, years ago," Axel Cruau, the French consul general in Los Angeles, told the Times, which initially reported the man to be a French national, citing sources close to the investigation.

The L.A. County coroner would not confirm his identity to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, citing an ongoing effort to notify his next of kin.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Cordova told the Associated Press on Tuesday that a federal arrest warrant was issued Jan. 9 for the man after he violated the terms of his probation by missing his monthly meetings with his officer in November, December, and January.

On Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the fatal shooting could have been avoided if the man had not "forcibly grabbed" an officer's weapon.

Beck added that the incident, which was captured on cell phone video, "is indicative of a struggle over a weapon."

"You can hear the young officer who was primarily engaged in the confrontation saying that 'He has my gun. He has my gun.' He says it several times, with conviction," Beck said.

The incident is being investigated by the LAPD, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, and the civilian police commission.

Watch the graphic footage here:

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.