A 15-year-old student with a BB gun who attended Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, California, was shot and killed early Saturday morning after police responded to a welfare check call concerning a young male seen outside the high school.
The officer-involved shooting incident occurred a little after 3:27 a.m. Saturday morning, KSWB-TV reported, when police received a 911 call requesting a welfare check on a juvenile standing in front of the high school. Although the caller, who police later determined was the teen himself, said the subject was unarmed, the responding officers say the young male, who was standing in the school’s parking lot, pulled what looked like a handgun and pointed it at them. After several attempts to get the subject to put the gun down, the two officers opened fire, shooting at the teen several times, killing him.
“As the officers got out of their patrol cars to contact the male, the male pulled a handgun that was concealed in his waistband and pointed it at one of the officers,” San Diego police said in a report.
The report stated that the two officers drew their weapons after seeing what they took to be a handgun and repeatedly commanded the teen to drop his weapon. However, the teen did not comply. According to the report, the teen instead continued pointing the gun at one of the officers and started walking toward that officer.
“The officers gave additional commands to the male to drop the handgun and the subject again refused to comply. Fearing for their safety, both officers fired their weapons at the male striking him several times.”
The officers immediately began life-saving procedures and called in paramedics, who transported the teen to Scripps La Jolla Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the 15-year-old was identified as a student at Torrey Pines High School. His family was notified of the shooting incident, but his name has yet to be released. KNSD in San Diego reported that police say they will not release the teen’s name due to his age.
It is as yet uncertain why the teen was at the high school so early in the morning or what circumstances were involved in his brandishing and pointing a weapon at the officers.
San Dieguito Unified High School District Superintendent Eric Dill wrote an email of consolation to district families, KSWB-TV noted in a separate report. “The details of the situation are still unfolding, but whatever they are, this event is very traumatic for our students, staff, families, and community,” he wrote. “A crisis response team will be on the TPHS campus on Monday to support students, staff, and parents as needed.”
“Honestly, I’m just in shock and I think that the rest of the Torrey Pines community feels the same way,” Torrey Pines High School senior Amanda Chen told KSWB. Chen, who also edits the high school’s paper, said she had heard upon arriving at the school that a student had taken his own life by allegedly provoking police officers to shoot him. “I don’t know what the student was going through,” she added, “it could be a combination of a lot of different types of pressures, but the school is definitely cliquey, so I’m not surprised.”
“We are investigating the type of handgun that the subject pointed at the officers. It’s still an ongoing investigation, but that handgun may actually be a replica handgun or an Airsoft or BB gun type of a handgun,” San Diego Police Lieutenant and Acting Captain Mike Holden later stated.
The BB gun was recovered at the scene.
According to KGTV in San Diego, both police officers were wearing body cams, and the video footage of the shooting had been used in the preliminary investigation. However, it is not clear whether or not the footage will be released.
San Diego Police said the two officers involved in the incident were a 28-year veteran and a four-year veteran of the department.
[Featured Image by TheaDesign/Shutterstock]