Late Tuesday afternoon, 14-year-old Jesse James Romero was shot and killed by Los Angeles Police officers in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. A Los Angeles County coroner identified the teen Wednesday.
While not much information has been disclosed as to what exactly led the LAPD officers to open fire on Romero, it was reported that officers with the Hollenbeck Division’s gang detail had come across the teen who was armed with a handgun, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officers discovered an armed Romero near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights at around 5:50 p.m. local time before a foot chase ensued. Romero was shot on Breed Street by police just after 6 p.m., LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar told the LA Times.
ABC 7 news reported that the gang enforcement officers opened fire when the teen pulled out a hand gun.
A handgun was discovered near Romero’s body at the scene, but it remains unclear whether or not Romero fired on the officers.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics revealed that Romero was dead at the scene.
The Los Angeles-based coroner confirmed that Romero was from the Los Angeles area. Ed Winter, a spokesman for the coroner’s office, revealed that Romero would have turned 15 this month on Aug. 24.
Romero was a student at Hollenbeck Middle School. A campus aide from the school, Ramon Gomez, was surprised to hear that Romero was armed.
“He was a bright, smart kid,” Gomez told the LA Times. “To see him go like this, I never expected this.”
A reporter for ABC 7 posted a photo of Romero’s mother on Twitter who claimed that her son never had a gun.
The news outlet noted that Romero was the 12th person to be killed by on-duty LAPD officers this year.