On Sunday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 16-year-old boy that they claim was armed at the time of the confrontation.
But no gun was found at the scene of the fatal police shooting.
Two deputies responded to a 911 call in which the caller said that he was afraid for his life when he saw a young man pointing a gun at a motorist. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner said at a news conference said that the responding deputies saw the teenager, who matched the description, and saw that he had a gun tucked into his pants.
Bergner said that the teenager ignored deputies’ commands and ran into an apartment complex that was apparently known to be a gang hideout.
Although the deputies did not identify the victim in the police shooting reportedly because he is a minor, they did insist that they saw a gun on him and said that he was an alleged gang member. They also insisted that witnesses corroborated their account.
ABC7 reports that the teen was later identified by coroner’s officials as Anthony Weber, a resident of the Westmont neighborhood where he was gunned down by police.
“Deputies were pretty articulate in describing specific features of the weapon that led us to believe they did see a gun,” Berger said.
Where did the gun go?
The sheriff’s deputies were reportedly not wearing body cameras so there is ongoing debate over whether Weber was in fact armed.
Although deputies claim that witnesses back up their account, other witnesses claimed that the teenager was shirtless and unarmed.
Community activist Kevin Orange told reporters that he knew the teenager and that he saw Weber earlier in the day without a shirt on.
The teen, he said, was with friends celebrating the Super Bowl. He added that he hadn’t ever seen Weber with a gun before and wondered if the deputies had found the wrong suspect.
“This is death alley,” Orange said of his neighborhood. “People do carry guns, not to hurt somebody but to make sure they don’t get hurt.”
As for the missing gun that sheriff’s deputies claim Weber was carrying?
Police insist the teen was armed and they also claim that witnesses must have removed the teen’s gun from the scene. Bergner said that a crowd of 30 or so people descended on the scene after the deadly police shooting.
“While waiting for backup, and trying to control the situation, it’s believed that somebody may have taken the gun that was in the possession of the juvenile at the time of the incident,” Bergner said.
The police shooting of Anthony Weber is now under investigation.