California Deputies Shoot and Kill 17-Year-Old Boy with Mental Health Problems

California Deputies Shoot and Kill 17-Year-Old Boy with Mental Health Problems
California Deputies Shoot and Kill 17-Year-Old Boy with Mental Health Problems (Credits: The Guardian)

Southern California sheriff’s deputies were involved in a fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy grappling with mental health issues after he armed himself with a knife and barricaded himself in a bathroom at a residence, authorities revealed on Wednesday.

According to San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus, the teenager, who had been receiving treatment at a hospital following a self-inflicted injury, was being transferred to a mental health facility when he fled on Tuesday.

Reportedly a foster youth residing in Hesperia, the adolescent later turned up at a home in Victorville, where his sisters, also foster children, were living, Dicus disclosed. As the situation unfolded, someone at the residence contacted deputies to apprehend him due to prior disturbances.

The teenager, armed with a knife, took refuge in a bathroom, and despite deputies’ attempts to coax him out for approximately thirty minutes, the standoff escalated when he threatened self-harm, prompting deputies to forcibly enter, Dicus recounted.

California Deputies Shoot and Kill 17-Year-Old Boy with Mental Health Problems
California Deputies Shoot and Kill 17-Year-Old Boy with Mental Health Problems (Credits: The Guardian)

Footage captured during the confrontation depicted the teen brandishing a knife, as detailed by the Riverside Press-Enterprise. Deputies resorted to pepper spray, resulting in one deputy sustaining a knife-related injury, the publication noted.

Cornered in a bathtub, the teenager was fatally shot by law enforcement, Dicus confirmed. He was subsequently pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital.

The incident comes in the wake of another fatal shooting involving San Bernardino deputies less than a month prior, in which 15-year-old Ryan Gainer, a former foster child adopted in his infancy, lost his life. The shooting occurred on March 9th after officers responded to a 911 call alleging property damage and an altercation within Ryan’s family residence in Apple Valley.

Described by his father, Norman Gainer, as resilient and cheerful despite adversities, Ryan’s untimely demise has added to mounting concerns over law enforcement’s handling of youth in crisis situations.

Additionally, the shooting of the unidentified 17-year-old coincides with the recent release of law enforcement footage capturing the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Savannah Graziano. The incident occurred on September 27th, 2022, after Savannah was allegedly abducted by her father, Anthony Graziano, who had earlier fatally shot her mother.

Amidst these tragedies, Dicus emphasized the need for expanded access to mental health services, advocating for alternatives to law enforcement intervention in cases involving troubled youth.

“My tenure as sheriff has been marked by a commitment to enhancing mental health services,” Dicus stated. “Our community faces challenges when law enforcement becomes the sole recourse during mental health crises. We must strive for a comprehensive support system beyond law enforcement.”