California officer shoots and kills 15 year old boy

An official in southern California reported that a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy while holding a gardening tool.

The San Bernardino county sheriff’s department received a 911 call on Saturday from a family who reported that a boy named Ryan Gainer was assaulting his family at their home in Apple Valley, located east of Los Angeles. According to the department, he was holding a 5ft gardening tool and walking towards the first deputy who arrived at the scene when the deputy shot him. Gainer was subsequently transported to a hospital where he passed away.

According to a family lawyer, Gainer was a cross-country runner with autism, and the fatal shooting seemed unjustified. The sheriff’s department provided 911 audio and partial body-camera footage to the Guardian on Monday. However, the clips do not show the moment of the shooting, and a spokesperson refused to share more video.

During the call, a woman mentioned that her brother was assaulting one of their sisters and attempting to damage a window and door. The audio recorded shouting in the background, and the woman informed the dispatcher: “They need to bring him in.”

On the call that lasted about five minutes, the woman mentioned that the other family members were attempting to avoid him. At one point, she mentioned, “He’s currently speaking with my dad.” He mentioned running away but then returned home. She mentioned that he was holding a shard of glass.

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The department shared two short body-camera clips, but both end before the shooting occurred. One deputy’s footage captured his arrival at the home, with the front door left open. Someone inside was heard saying: “He has a stick in his hand.” Gainer then emerged and began walking rapidly out of the home towards the deputy, who aimed his gun at the boy and yelled: “Move back, move back, or you’re going to get shot.”

The deputy seemed to be moving in reverse, then quickly fleeing from the boy while aiming his gun at him. Another video showed the same moment from a different deputy who had just arrived and was standing further away. Gainer seemed to be raising the tool above his head when he was shot, but it’s not clear what he was trying to do.

A department spokesperson mentioned that full body-camera footage would not be released on Monday and did not disclose details such as the location of the shooting, the number of bullets fired, and whether multiple deputies were involved. The spokesperson chose not to disclose the names of the deputies present and mentioned that the case was still being investigated.

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