A 17-year-old boy fatally shot himself in the head Monday after family members pleaded with him to put down a gun during what investigators said was a game of Russian roulette in the bedroom of a Torrance apartment.
"They were pleading with him not to play with the gun, not to play Russian roulette," said Sgt. Scott Hoglund, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "The victim did not listen and proceeded to put the gun to his head and pull the trigger."
Deputies responded to the building in the 900 block of West Carson Street at about 4 a.m. after a report of gunfire. The gunshot victim was transported to a hospital, where he died, according to the sheriff's department.
A security guard told NBC4 he called 911 after investigating reports of an argument, which authorities said might have been the boy's three cousins pleading with him to drop the gun, a .38 Special revolver. Several neighbors said they heard what sounded like screaming for about one minute and a single gunshot.
Donald Gordon, the security guard, said he found the victim bleeding on the floor after responding to the disturbance reports.
"He was on the ground, gasping for air, saying he really needs some help," said Gordon.
The victim suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, according to investigators with the sheriff's department. The gun used in the fatal game of chance was recovered at the scene.
Russian roulette involves loading a single chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder and squeezing the trigger after putting the gun to one's head.
Family members and friends were in the apartment at the time, but family members, who declined to speak on camera with NBC4, said they were not aware the boy had a gun, authorities said. Others who were inside the apartment are being questioned, authorities said.
The victim was named by family members and friends as Jerry, however he is yet to be formally identified by the coroner's office. He lived at the house with his brother and his sibling's wife.
"Additional information about the weapon is still under investigation," the sheriff's department said in a statement.
People who lived in the building are still in shock about what happened.
"I was just sad because he's young and still had a lot of stuff to do," Genevee Barasi, whose, uncle lives next door, said.
No one was arrested in connection with the shooting. Sheriff's officials said they were attempting to determine to whom the gun was registered and how the teen obtained the weapon.