City News Service

14-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed by Police After Vandalism Report

Gunfire was reported after officers responded to a gang-related vandalism call

A 14-year-old boy armed with a gun was killed Tuesday in a police shooting that occurred after officers responded to a vandalism report in Boyle Heights, police said.

No officers were injured in the shooting, which occurred at 5:50 p.m. in the area of Breed Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue , according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The coroner's office identified the boy as 14-year-old Jesse James Romero.

"These officers did indeed see a handgun in the hands of the suspect when they were chasing him," LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said.

Gang Enforcement Detail officers chased two subjects -- described in a radio call as between the ages of 14 and 16 -- in the area of Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez after a report of gang-related vandalism, police said. A witness told officers one of the individuals was firing a handgun in the direction of pursuing officers, police said.

Details about the witness were not immediately available.

Officers heard gunfire and one of them returned fire as they ran around a corner, LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Arcos said at a midday news conference. An ambulance reponded, but the boy was pronounced dead at the scene, Aguilar said.

"While the loss of life is always tragic, it is particularly so when it involves a youth," Arcos said.

Capt. Andrew Neiman said that based on the preliminary investigation authorities are certain the teen killed was the same individual who opened fire on officers.

LAPD said the foot pursuit and shooting might have been captured on video from both officers' body cameras.

A loaded handgun was recovered at the scene, according to police. Police showed a photo of the handgun at Wednesday's news conference.

Jesse's mother, Teresa Dominguez, maintained a memorial at her home Wednesday following the shooting.

She said she wanted justice for her son, and that he was a good boy.

"I think he did have a gun. I'm not sure if he did, but if he did, he didn't point it at them," Jesse's friend Yohana Miranda said, referring to police.

Miranda described Jesse as a quiet kid, but admits he was expelled from Mendez High School.

At the sidewalk memorial, friends posted a large sign with the name of a local gang underneath Jesse's name, but police aren't yet commenting on whether the teenager had gang ties.

Boyle Heights resident Ruben Gomez told NBC4 he had plans to pick up his wife and a friend in the area for dinner at the time of the shooting. During a phone conversation with his wife, she said there were "kids running around with guns," Gomez said.

Police were not able to confirm the witness' account.

A vigil will be held at Mariachi Plaza on Pleasant Avenue Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before a march that will begin at the LAPD's Hollenbeck station and end at the shooting site.

The shooting was the second Tuesday involving LAPD officers.

Officers shot and wounded a man shortly after 2 a.m. during a traffic stop in the 5500 block of Nordyke Street near Eagle Rock, according to the LAPD.

The person involved in that shooting, a man in his 30s, was hospitalized in stable condition. A handgun was recovered at the shooting scene, police said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us