California teen with a sharp tool killed after rushing at sheriff’s deputy

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. — A 15-year-old California boy armed with a bladed garden tool was fatally shot when he charged at a sheriff’s deputy responding to a report of an assault underway at a residence, authorities said.

The shooting occurred Saturday afternoon in Apple Valley, a Mojave Desert city northeast of Los Angeles.

Family said in a 911 call that the teen was “actively assaulting family members and damaging property at the residence,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The office’s statement made no mention of mental illness being a factor, but a separate statement by Sheriff Shannon Dicus indicated that it was involved.

“Our social safety net for those experiencing mental illness needs to be strengthened,” Dicus said.

Public information officer Mara Rodriguez said “the mental/medical history of the suspect is part of the ongoing investigation. No information is available.”

In the recording of the chaotic 911 call, a caller said her 15-year-old brother was assaulting their sister. At one point the caller said the youth had broken a window and was holding glass.

Body camera video released by the office shows the first deputy who arrived approaching the open front door of the house when the youth appears and rushes forward. He was holding what the office described as an approximately 5-foot-long (1.5-meter) garden tool with a “sharp-bladed end.”

The deputy points his gun, backpedals and yells, “Hey! Get back! Get back you’re gonna get shot!”

A second video from another deputy’s body camera shows the deputy running away with his gun pointing back at the teen, who is close behind with the tool raised.

The videos blur the youth’s face and do not show the actual shooting. The office did not say whether one or both deputies fired.

The office said deputies rendered aid until paramedics arrived but he later died at a hospital.

The sheriff’s statement, which expressed sympathy for the teen’s family, said deputies handle “seemingly insurmountable calls daily” and most do not end in violence. The office didn’t specify the status of the deputies.

“Rapidly evolving, violent encounters are some of the most difficult, requiring split-second decisions,” he said. “While these decisions are lawful, they are awful in terms of our humanity.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.