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LAPD shooting of 13-year-old with pellet gun is a 'tragedy,' Chief Beck says

The shooting of a 13-year-old Glassell Park boy carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun by a Los Angeles Police Department officer is a "tragedy," Chief Charlie Beck said.

"This is a tragedy for all involved, but in particular for the young man injured in this police shooting and for the officer who believed that he was protecting himself and his partner from a real threat," Beck said in a statement. "The pellet gun the juvenile was using is the exact dimensions of a Beretta 92F and is indistinguishable from a real handgun on a dark night."

The chief added: "We have seen far too much heartbreak involving these types of realistic-looking guns that are labeled as toys."

The incident occurred about 7:50 p.m. Thursday when two LAPD officers on routine patrol in the 3000 block of North Verdugo Road saw three pedestrians in the middle of the street and stopped to investigate. The three people ran, with one ending up behind a van.

The officers got out of their patrol car, and one of them, Officer Victor Abarca, shined a flashlight on the person behind the van and ordered him to surrender. Based on the person’s 5-foot-7, 200-pound frame, Abarca assumed that he was a young adult male.

Police said the boy refused to comply and instead produced what was later found to be a fake Beretta 92F handgun. Abarca fired his gun, striking the boy.

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and took the boy to a hospital, where he underwent surgery and was listed in critical but stable condition.

After the shooting, Abarca and rescue personnel were stunned to learn that the wounded male was, in fact, just 13. The other two youths, ages 13 and 14, were detained without incident after dropping their fake handguns. Three faux weapons were recovered.

Detectives from the LAPD’s force investigation division responded to the scene. Police said they had determined that the subjects had been playing in the dark street, shooting pellets at one another with the fake handguns. They said they anticipated that no criminal charges would be filed against any of the three juveniles.


New flood warnings issued as L.A. braces for heavy rains

Deputies lead on wild chase that includes crashes, carjacking, kidnapping

-- Martha Groves

There have been 50 violent crimes in Glassell Park in the last six months. Details from Crime L.A.:

Violent crimes (50)
Property crimes (174)
Comments () | Archives (75)

And where are their parents?

Do not have children if you aren't going to teach, watch and discipline them ..so things like this don't happen.

How many stories like this need to happen before people realize whether the gun is fake or real...it doesn't matter...you will get the same result...negative!

I feel badly for the officers!

5'7" and 200 lbs?

Hey recoverd, a semi-young white male was shot and killed the other day in Long Beach, in broad daylight, while holding and supposedly pointing a semi gunlike looking lawn sprayer.

I'm holding a coffee cup at the moment--should I be concerned? (Luckily, I have the blinds closed). Kidding, of course. Next, here's a story:

When I was about 12 (about same age as victim) my dad bought me a pellet rifle and I was shooting at things in the field behind our house when a cop pulled up and I thought--ok. better point rifle toward the sky now that a cop is here. Now, this cop didn't draw his gun. Instead, he said that someone complained that somebody had a gun (12 year old) in the field behind their house, and to investigate. The cop said that it reminded him of when he was a boy, he used to shoot at cans in the field behind his house,etc.

I'm glad he didn't unload his clip on me in the name of "officer safety."

Not that there aren't situations which warrant it--but some don't. Let's be as careful as possible out there.

god bless the young boy who was shot.....and god bless our police offers that put their life on the line every single day for you and mine safety......its a split second when they have to decide between their life or someone elses....dont' judge until and unless you are putting your life on the line every single day.....easy to point fingers when you aren't out there doing it....

so many comments here suggest that boys playing deserve to be shot. mostly racist crap about kids who don't look like us gettin' just desserts.

most boys play war games, cops n' robbers or if you're old enough cowboys n' indians!

in real battle and in real life there is a stress response called "fight or flight" and this article indicates two boys dropped their toys but one did not.

sad yes. is the officer at fault? open question.

when a live gun is pointed at them old men will vacate their bowels.

this was just a kid. have sympathy.

I was a dumb kid once...running around with bbguns with friends shooting each other. These kids we're doing the same...playing. Cops see guns...try and bust the kids...kids run...get chased down...and shot.... Story is later spun that kid pointed gun at cop. For everyone on here that think cops intentions are always to "serve and protect"....you prob think santa is real too. This kid got shot by a trigger happy cop....and he should be charged. Do you really think cops admit to making mistakes? No 13 year kid is pointing a pelletgun at a Cop....not happening. wake up. Hopefully the kid lives to tell the story.

How easy it is for so many people to pass judgement on a community and a family from their ivory towers. It's sicking to read such hatred and ignorance. And, what makes you all think that the police department is telling the truth. They lie even when their caught on tape.

Umm.. Don't you people get it? Those kids were fixing to rob someone or had already robbed someone. Since it looks like a real gun and all.... and people just don't walk about with fake guns in a city in a group near night time.... kid deserved to get shot.

Very sad story. Please, teach your kids. This is Los Angeles. People shoot at the police here, so they have to react instantly to any danger. They are human and can easily make mistakes, so you have to make it obvious that you are not dangerous. Never do anything that might be interpreted by the police as a threat.

Is there something in the water or are people (young people) just becoming more stupid. Unless it's your finger you don't point ANYTHING that even is close to looking like a real weapon at a Police Officer.....or you will pay the price for being stupid and deservidly so. The PD does not have the time in a "split second" to decide if that REAL looking weapon you are threatening them with was bought at Toy's R Us or Turners Outdoorsman... you better assume the latter. This is not some video game people that you can replay, if you mess up....

"no criminal charges will be filed against any of the three juveniles"?!? that's probably good since they committed no crimes.

what about charges against the police officers? why were they suspicious of the kids anyway? for standing in the street? don't they know that a lot of kids have "fake" guns (i.e. water guns, pellet guns, etc.)? aren't they trained?

this article reads like an LAPD press release.

"to serve and protect".....and shoot 13-year-olds for no reason.


This is how it went down; the officer shot the kid, then he found the pellet gun and put in the boy's hand. The cop turned and look around while his partner was nodding his head. Later that night, they both celebrated with cold beers while watching football.

Just another criminal in the making.

It's ok to shoot a thirteen year old, but the drunken nut with a water hose nossle this was a crime. The parent should have send him to AA and maybe he be alive today. It not right for anyone to get shot or killed, but they were kids. Police office should asked questions first,did they hear gun shots. God forbid a child is playing at night with a water gun.

I sorry but I hear so many negative thing about our children. No we should not let have our childre have these kind of pallet gun to play with but have you ever seen a paint ball gun?

You people sound like a bunch of monsters.

This incident backs up the popular notion that LAPD are a bunch of buffoonish, moronic idiot bullies incapable of responsibly doing their job. It doesn't matter if this was a real gun - the police should always try to communicate first, and shoot later.

When are we going to get some real community policing in Los Angeles? Why are LA police officers such heartless, brainless myrmidons?

dont you remeber playing cowboy's and indians runing up and down the street with your friend's, it's sad what a world!

I am glad the teachers are not being blame for this since some people they are responsible for someone else child 24/7. He should have been at home during his homework. Where was his parent(parents)? His mother will want to sue the tax payers, and the tax payers will pay his medical bills. I hope these children have learned a lesson the hard way. Maybe he was never taught to obey orders. Over 90% of the children do not obey orders. Some of these same children order their parents around, and disrespect their parents.

The incompetent cop should be charged for attempt of murder and sent to jail. It's way too common cops pulling the trigger without using judgment.

The real question is this: What the hell were these kids planning to do with the fake guns in the first place? It looks like the police actually may have stopped and even bigger crime from happing.

Just to make myself clear on this, I have never had any fear of foreign terrorist such as the Taliban.
Since the greatest Urban Terrorist Organization I've ever known is local law enforcement, at no time in my two decades of experience will I ever trust them.
Serve & Protect yourself, that is the typical patrol officer's moto.

Actually, just a different end to the popular movie "A Christmas Story." Our culture holds up the story of the kid Ralphie who wants a red ryder bb gun for Christmas as a classic. The modern day kid with a pellet gun gets blown away by the LAPD and everyone blames the kid and the mom. I am not sure that I see a big difference.

For those of you that walk on water, Congratulations! The boy made a fatal mistake and the Police Officer reacted. Luckily, the boy is in stable condition.

Pretend you are the officers and see it from their perspective. Based on this article, the cops see individuals in the street at night (dangerous gang area, red flag). They decide to stop and investigate. Three individuals flee (red flag). One of them fled behind van. Officer shined flashlight and saw a 5-7 200 lb male (which would be the size of an adult). The individual refuses to comply with the officer, which meant the officer tried talking to the individual (red flag). The individual produces a real looking fake firearm (red flag) . The officer shoots individual (probably wouldn't call it trigger happy since individual survived). So what should the officer have done differently? Wait until people shoot at them before shooting? True, the cops could be lying... The two other kids can verify if they had real looking fake guns and if they didn't comply with officers and fled. The kid that got shot didn't die so he can give his story.

thanks a lot for the informative article. i am really interested to read more from you.

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