LOS ANGELES — State and federal authorities will monitor the investigation into the death of a black man found hanging from a tree in the Southern California city of Palmdale, officials said Monday following weekend protests prompted by the initial determination of suicide as the likely cause of death.

The body of Robert Fuller was discovered around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in a park near City Hall. An autopsy was conducted Friday and the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office said the 24-year-old man appeared to have died by suicide.

The finding prompted outcry by his family, who believed he wasn’t suicidal, and community members who called for an independent investigation and autopsy. More than 1,000 people turned out for a protest and memorial Saturday around the tree where Fuller’s body was found about 40 miles north of Los Angeles.

Dr. Jonathan Lucas, the chief medical examiner-coroner, said the initial finding was the result of nothing at the scene indicating foul play. Investigators only found rope and a backpack in the park.

“The initial report appeared to be consistent with a suicide but we felt it prudent to roll that back and continue to look deeper,” Lucas said Monday at a news conference.

The coroner’s office is awaiting toxicology results, Lucas said. Investigators are also looking at Fuller’s medical history.

The state attorney general’s office and the FBI’s Civil Rights Division will monitor the investigation, which is being led by the Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide bureau, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Robert Fuller

Robert Fuller was found dead Wednesday hanging from a tree in Poncitlán Square, in Palmdale, Calif. An autopsy found he died by suicide but Fuller’s family insists he was not suicidal and called for an independent investigation. Courtesy of Robert Fuller Family via AP

Homicide detectives plan to analyze the rope and its knot, canvass the area for video footage, interview Fuller’s social services case worker and speak to anyone who had recently interacted with him.

They are also seeking to meet with Fuller’s family, authorities said.

Fuller’s family and friends described him as a peacemaker who was street-smart, loved music and video games, and mostly stayed to himself. Days before he died, he attended a Black Lives Matter protest, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Fuller’s sister, Diamond Alexander said her brother was not suicidal. “My brother was a survivor,” she said.

The state Senate began its session Monday with a moment of silence for Fuller and Malcolm Harsch, a 38-year-old homeless black man who was found hanging from a tree on May 31 in Victorville, a desert city about 45 miles east of Palmdale.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said foul play was not suspected in the death of Harsch, but his family said in a statement issued Saturday that they were concerned it will be ruled a suicide to avoid further attention.

San Bernardino authorities provided a fuller accounting Monday of the circumstances surrounding Harsch’s death. In a statement, the department said his girlfriend called 911 and told a dispatcher that he had hanged himself in a homeless encampment. The woman said they had been together earlier in the morning but separated for a brief time when she returned to her tent.

Others in the encampment had cut him down and tried to revive him, the sheriff’s department said. Detectives have interviewed several people who were nearby at the time.

The department said there was no evidence of foul play found at the scene or discovered during Harsch’s autopsy. Toxicology results are still pending so the official cause and manner of Harsch’s death has not been determined.

Villanueva said his investigators will consult with San Bernardino detectives to see if there are any commonalities between the deaths of the two men.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marched from the Palmdale park near City Hall to the sheriff’s station. Many carried signs that read, “Justice for Robert Fuller.” Meanwhile, an online petition demanding an investigation collected more than 200,000 signatures.

The city has issued a statement supporting an independent inquiry, and three elected officials – county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, state Sen. Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita and Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale – urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the probe.

Becerra said for now his investigators will just support the sheriff’s department, “though we also have the ability to do it on our own if necessary.”

Comments are not available on this story.