SAN DIEGO – Details emerged from a high school in San Diego that have the earmark of suicide by cop. Officers responded with lethal force to a teen pointing what they believed to be a handgun at them.
The incident occurred in the parking lot at Torrey Pines High School. Police received a 911 call Saturday shortly before 3:30 a.m. The caller asked officers to check on the welfare of an unarmed boy in front of the school, according to a police statement.
Although he didn’t name the boy, detectives believe the 15-year-old student was referring to himself, reported Fox News.
When two officers arrived, they spotted a youth in the front parking lot. But as they got out of their patrol cars, he pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at an officer, police said.
The officers drew their weapons and ordered the boy to drop his. But sadly he chose to walk toward an officer, ignoring demands to drop the weapon, police said.
As a result, both officers fired, hitting him several times. They performed first aid and summoned paramedics, but the teen was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.
Their investigation revealed the weapon used by the student was a BB air pistol. Police didn’t release the teen’s name because of his age.
“Our hearts go out to the student, his family and his friends,” said a statement from Eric Dill, superintendent of the San Diego Union High School District.
A crisis-response team will be on campus Monday to support students, staff and parents, Dill said. Counseling also will be available at all district schools for anyone who needs a place to talk about the shooting or “to mourn and process this tragedy,” he said.
Left unsaid is the trauma each officer will experience as a result of this incident. No cop wants to take the life of a 15-year-old high school student suffering severe depression. Yet the headlines invoke a Draconian death due to their reactions.
Indeed the details of this tragedy are sad, but not isolated to the family of the troubled teen. They will linger with the officers and their families as well.