LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police officer shot and wounded a 15-year-old boy in the back after spotting him in an alley standing near someone holding what appeared to be a gun, authorities said Thursday.
"What the officer thought was a weapon turned out to be a replica handgun," Sgt. Frank Preciado said.
The boy, Jamar Nicholson, was taken to a hospital and released to his mother the same day.
An LAPD captain has apologized to his mother, but Nicholson said he wanted to hear the same directly from the officer.
"I don't want to see him again," he told the Los Angeles Times, "but I do want that 'sorry.'"
Two officers spotted a teenager pointing what they thought was a gun at another person Tuesday morning.
Officers ordered the boy to drop the weapon, Preciado said. When he didn't comply, one of the officers opened fire.
The teen holding the replica weapon wasn't hurt, but Nicholson standing next to him was struck.
Nicholson disputed the officer's account, saying "I promise I never heard anything" like a command to drop the gun and said the officer fired just after shouting "Freeze!"
He showed the Times a bandage on his upper back where the bullet hit him.
Police put the replica gun on display on Thursday as they pointed out the dangers of such toys. It resembles a real pistol except for a tiny orange piece on the tip.
"It's certainly an unfortunate situation," LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Times (http://lat.ms/1J5qR6H). "But because of people bringing replica weapons out like that, it certainly could have been a terrible tragedy."