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13-year-old with pellet gun wounded by LAPD officer

A Los Angeles police officer shot and wounded a 13-year-old boy who was carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun in the Glassell Park area.

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

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and took the subject 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 subjects, 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.

"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," said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

"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," Beck said. "We have seen far too much heartbreak involving these types of realistic-looking guns that are labeled as toys."

-- Martha Groves

Comments () | Archives (29)

Never mess with the 200-pound 13 year old with a pellet gun!

Even in daylight those guns look real. Good job by the Officer , what kind of kid doesnt listen to police orders especially while holding a replica gun. This kid is very lucky to be alive

This is a very distressful situation for the teen and his family. My heart goes out to him, his family, and his friends at school. They were kids just fooling around (I'm not condoning this, but rather recognizing the fact that teens don't always make wise choices about what's "fun").
I don't know what kind of dialogue was exchanged between the officers and the boy, but did it ever occur to police that "surrender your firearm" just might not be in his vocabulary? He probably didn't understand what was being asked of him, which is the case of many immigrants who live in the area. Add to the language barrier, immaturity, fear, and nervousness for "getting in trouble with police," they ran and hid. Incidents like these hinder any progress that police might make in this community, which desperately depends on and yet resents them.

Whatever happened to LAPDs protocol of not shooting unless fired upon first?

That stupid brat is lucky he didn't get killed. This article tries to make it sound like Officer Abarca did something wrong because the kid was 13. He did not. The kids and their parents are at fault. And not dropping the weapon, I wonder where he learned that. An officer tells you to drop what is in your hands, do it. It puts the officer more at ease, and it helps assure that you won't get shot. 13 year olds can be just as deadly as adults.

Cops should have shot this idiot in the face!

Blame Mom and (Dad? if there is one).

Let's not forget the cost of several hundred thousand dollars to the tax payers for the care of this kid.

I smell a Sandy Banks story here. No, it is just Sandy Banks.

Good shot! That's what I'm talking about.

Good job LAPD!

Kids with fake guns in the middle of the night. what do you expect

Even at 13 I would have know better...what was that kid thinking. Hope he is OK and learns. I also hope that the liberal, cop hating community doesn't blame the cop.

Read all aboit it!! Parents will hold a news conference tomorrow suing the country!

The NRA - we are the violent, the stupid, stretchers of the US 2nd amendment that brainwashes out young kids into using guns - and getting shot for it by legitimate police officers to whom any gun but theirs is a threat. The NRA should be proud of this boy for we are certainly not proud of them and their socially irresponsible special interest subterfuges.

SA there is not one Police Dept. in the world that waits to get shot at first. Where did you learn from Court TV or Law and Order. If you think that why I feel for you. The officer followed every procedure and policy within the dept. He told the kid to come from behind the car and to drop whatever he had. He told him to show his hands and to raise them above his head. No matter the reason the kid did not. Shame on the Parents and family members, one why are you out with a pellet gun, two why are you shooting pellets at your friends (someone could lose an eye) third why out after dark with no supervision. I know why !!!!!!!!!!!!

He may not have been in a gang but this is an area with gang activity is high. And parents act surprised when there kids are running in the street with toy guns at night and having run ins with the cops? It's a tragedy-true-but common sense please! [Incidentally, the acting general of the Mexican Consulate is now involved-assisting the parents with access to legal representation should a lawsuit be necessary. Really? It's shameful!] As one area resident said ( an elderly woman who's mother and she have both lived in the area for generations) "Get with your kids. Stick with your kids. Educate your kids. You know better. I know better. My daddy knew better and my mama knew better when I wasn't doing the right thing. If your kids are out late, they're gonna get hurt. I live in this neighborhood and I hear it all night long with the gunfire, with the parties, with the drunken brawls, with the burglaries. I work with the police and I am not going to take this sitting down. It is all of us watching our kids. It's not the police's responsiblity to raise our kids. It's your responsbility." Amen, Lady! People better start taking responsibility for themselves and their kids and stop making the community pay for the mistakes that happen as a result of stupid behavior.

The question as always should be, "where were the parents."
The cops probably saved some victims from being robbed that night.

Right now there are a whole bunch of LAPD officers on their knees praying and praying this poor kid doesn't make it. Otherwise, this time the REAL story of a trigger happy murderer with a badge will come out!


him and his WHOLE family should be deported NOW.

The Officer was doing what he is paid to do, serving and protecting. The kid should be counting his lucky stars he wasn't killed.
Awesome job LAPD! Thanks for your diligence. You risk your safety everyday to make sure I'm safe, that my children are safe and that Dirt Bags don't take over the streets... Keep up the great work.

Is it legal in California for a 13 year old to have a pellet gun?

I looked up Beretta 92F Co2 pellet gun and it was listing for more than $200.
This could be why he was hiding too, I suppose.

Do we have any indication that the 13 year old is Latino?
I don't really know LA, maybe it's a heavily Latino part of town?


What if this 200 pound, 13 year old person had shot one of the officers in the eye. Blinded for life!! Could he sue the parents for every cent they make for the rest of their lives? and make the kid do the same when he turns 18.

this cop had every right to shoot!!

Heck, if I saw this kid out late at night, I would cross the street..scary.

and what's the big deal, under age "people" kill adults too. So one has to protect themselves against all!!!

Young, old, skinny, fat, huge, black, white, oriental, male, female, pretty, ugly, well dressed, hobos,,,you get the big picture??

A lot of classy responses here. How many of you were stopped on a regular basis by police at the age of 13 and therefore can be certain of exactly how you might have responded? I played with toy guns all the time as a kid. We ran around friends and neighbors homes for hours pretending to shoot at one another. The appearance of a cop car wouldn't have registered an offenders sense of compliance to the law because we were children. These kids likely recognized that they shouldn't be playing in the street and ran - hardly a surprise from children. No doubt the boy did not recognize that he was behaving in a manor threatening to these officers. Congratulating the officer on a job well done is cynical nonsense. You can be sure this officer feels terrible about the situation and would not be comforted in the least by your crass approval. The circumstances are unfortunate and police procedure in this incident should be reviewed for the sake of both innocent officers and innocent children.

First of all , to the person who commented on Officers not shooting until shot upon... Do you know how ignorant you sound ! Why don't you take a stroll down Verdugo Ave and Ave 33 late at night and then open your mouth ... We are with you Officer Abarca .

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