Suspect shot dead by Los Angeles police was 14-year-old boy: coroner

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 10, 2016 12:15 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A suspect shot to death by Los Angeles police officers during a foot chase this week was a 14-year-old boy, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said on Wednesday.

Ed Winter, assistant chief of the coroner's department, identified the slain boy as Jesse James Romero, 14. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday, Winter said.

A Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman said two gang enforcement detail officers were in pursuit of a "male Hispanic with a gun" shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday when one of them shot the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The spokeswoman said a handgun was recovered but she could not say why the officer had opened fire. Los Angeles Police Department scheduled a press conference for Wednesday morning.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the officers involved had been wearing body cameras but it was unclear whether that footage had been reviewed.

Police departments across the country are under increased scrutiny over fatal shootings, especially of young men, which have re-ignited a debate over the use of lethal force by officers and the role of racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.

(This version of the story has been refiled to say Coroner's Department spokesman corrects age of suspect to 14 from 15)

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by James Dalgleish)