BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - Jesse Romero was just days away from turning fifteen when tragedy struck. How that happened is under investigation. Police say there was a graffitti/vandalism call in Boyle Heights. LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Arcos says that a "witness saw the subject shoot a handgun in the direction of the pursuing officers. As officers approached the corner of Chavez and Breed they heard a gunshot. As the officers rounded the corner one of the officers became involved in an officer in solved shooting.” Romero was killed.
The teen's mother, Theresa Dominguez, blames LAPD for killing her son. She says witnesses told her the shooting was unprovoked.
Meanwhile, Arcos told reporters at a mid-morning news conference that there will be DNA tests to determine who handled the handgun recovered at the scene. He also said there were body-cams recording. That video will be uploaded and used in the investigation.
The officer involved in the shooting and his partner were taken off street-duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
No officers were injured in the shooting, which occurred at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Breed Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Jesse James Romero of Los Angeles died at the scene, said coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
At a news conference this morning at police headquarters, LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos said officers had gone to the neighborhood on a report of vandalism involving "gang writing,'' and that the suspects were described as being about 14-16 years of age.
Arcos said officers spotted two suspects, and one fled on foot.
"According to a witness, who saw the subject running from the officers, the witness saw the subject shoot a handgun in the direction of the pursuing officers,'' Arcos said.
He said the pursuing officers heard a gunshot as they approached a corner during the pursuit.
"As the officers rounded the corner, one of the officers became involved in an officer-involved shooting,'' he said.
Arcos told reporters he could not say if the officer who shot Romero was under fire at the time the teen was shot. The investigation was "ongoing'' and officers were still being interviewed, he said.
Officers were wearing body cameras, and the recorded images will be part of the investigation, Arcos said. Also, Arcos said he could not say if Romero was involved in gangs.
At the news conference, police displayed a large photo of what they said was a loaded revolver that was recovered at the shooting scene. The handgun is being tested for DNA and fingerprints, Arcos aid.
In an earlier briefing from the scene of the shooting, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said Gang Enforcement Detail officers had gotten into the foot pursuit with suspects in the area of Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue.
Arcos said that so far this year, the department has had four officers fired upon and two who have been shot.
"The tragedy of this event cannot be understated,'' he said. "In a community where violent crime continues to rise, particularly gang crime, this event underscores the need for youth programs and outreach to provide opportunities and alternatives for the youth of our communities.''
Teresa Dominguez, who said she is Romero's mother, told KPCC radio her son "was a good boy.''
"He didn't do anything violent,'' she said, noting that the family has lived in Boyle Heights for six years, and she works as a vegetable packer.
Lourdes Miranda, who said she knew Romero, told KPCC the teen "was in the gangs'' but he was "a good kid.''
"He was smart. He was friendly. He did good in school,'' Miranda said. "Very respectful, never disrespected anyone. Always quiet.''
She added: "Kids are dumb. They think it makes them cool or whatever.''
Ultimately, however, "he didn't deserve this,'' Miranda said.
The shooting was the second on Tuesday that involved LAPD officers. Officers shot and wounded a man shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday during a traffic stop in the 5500 block of Nordyke Street near Eagle Rock, according to the LAPD.
The suspect in that shooting, a man in his 30s, was hospitalized in stable condition. A handgun was recovered at the shooting scene, police said.
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