A Los Angeles police officer fatally shot and killed a 16-year-old boy in South L.A. on Thursday after the teen reportedly called 911 himself before the shooting and left his family a “farewell note.”
According to police, Daniel Enrique Perez was shot after pointing a realistic-looking replica gun at officers. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that investigators believe Perez had a “desire to end his own life.” Beck also said detectives identified Perez through a cell phone he was carrying, which was used to call 911 about 20 minutes before the deadly shooting, and the caller reported a man with a gun matching Perez’s description.
Although Chief Beck declined to detail the teen’s prior, suspicious history, he does believe that based on the farewell note and Perez’s past described by his family, the young boy wanted to end his own life, Daily Mail reports. On the night of the fatal incident, officers responded to a call and spotted someone matching the description (a Latino man with a gray sweater and black pants), then began to approach him.
That person was Perez, who then turned and pointed a handgun at the officers, prompting police to open fire. The officers who shot Perez were wearing body cameras. However, Beck said he had “no immediate intention” of releasing that footage, which he said “clearly depicts his actions and his death, which are entirely consistent with the officers’ version of events.” Paramedics took Perez to a hospital, where he died later that evening.
Beck eventually released the footage, saying it was out of concern for public safety as well as to correct what he described as “significant misinformation” about the events leading up to the earlier shooting of 18-year-old Carnell Snell Jr., which prompted several protests in the L.A. area.
Perez’s mother declined to believe the Chief’s account of the incident, reports the Daily Mail:
‘Daniel did not wanted to die,’ Veronica Perez told CBS Los Angeles through a translator. ‘Daniel wanted to study and he wanted to join the marines.’
She refused to comment on the replica gun or the suicide note police say he left his parents.