LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles police officer investigating a graffiti tagging report shot and killed a 14-year-old boy after the teen opened fire on him during a brief foot chase, authorities said Wednesday.
The shooting occurred Tuesday in Boyle Heights, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles that police say is still home to nearly three dozen gangs.
“The tragedy of this event cannot be understated,” Deputy Chief Robert Arcos said.
“This event underscores the need for youth programs and outreach which provide opportunities and alternatives for the youth of our communities.”
Arcos did not say if the slain teenager or a second detained youth were gang members.
Arcos said the teen was shot after two officers responded to a report of tagging and two suspects ran from the scene.
One was quickly detained, and the other ran a couple of blocks before firing at officers chasing him, police said, citing an unnamed witness.
“The witness saw the subject shoot a handgun in the direction of the pursuing officers,” Arcos said, adding the officers heard the gunfire. Neither officer was hit.
Moments later, an officer rounding a corner shot the 14-year-old, who died at the scene.
At a news conference Wednesday, police displayed a photo of a loaded, long-barreled revolver they say the youth was carrying when he was shot.
Both officers were wearing body cameras. Arcos said the video was being processed and would be reviewed by investigators. It was not immediately released.
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” he said of the investigation.
The officers, who were not identified, were assigned to desk duty. Police did not release the name of the 14-year-old or the other youth, who was detained.