San Diego police fatally shot a 15-year-old boy early Saturday morning and claimed they fired their weapons after the teen pointed at them what they later discovered was a BB gun.
Police arrived at the parking lot of the Torrey Pines High School in northern San Diego after 911 dispatch received a call shortly before 3:30 a.m. asking officers to check on a 15-year-old outside the high school who the caller said was unarmed.
Authorities later said they believe the victim placed the call and was talking about himself in the third person.
Police dispatch audio described a 15-year-old “white male, medium, unknown height” standing on the curb.
When the officers got out of the patrol car to approach the boy, he pulled what they believed was a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers, San Diego police said in a statement. The boy then walked toward officers with the object and pointed it at them, refusing multiple commands to drop it, police claimed.
Police said the two officers “feared for their safety” and shot the boy, striking him “multiple times.” The boy was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Both officers were reportedly wearing body cameras during the incident, according to KGTV News 10 but the SDPD has not yet commented on if the footage will be publicly released.
The officers involved were only identified by the department as a 28-year veteran and a four-year veteran of the force.
The boy’s name has not been released because of his age, but Stephen Dill, superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, identified him as a student at Torrey Pines.
“Our hearts go out to the student, his family, and his friends,” Dill said in a Saturday statement. He said a crisis response team would be on campus Monday for students, parents and staff.
With details of situation still unfolding, Dill asked the public to “please refrain from conjecture or spreading rumors.”
“As a community, we have a shared responsibility to care for one another,” Dill said. “Please rest assured that we will do everything possible to maintain our daily routine while supporting each other as we deal with this sad event.”
From the start of 2015 to the end of 2016, police killed at least 86 people who brandished toy or replica guns, according to the Washington Post. The most high-profile incident came several months before the start of the tally when in late 2014, Cleveland Police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice while he was playing in a park with a toy gun.