Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Arcos held a press conference this week regarding the incident that resulted in the death of 14-year-old Jesse Romero early Tuesday night (Aug. 9).
#JesseRomero R.I.P chiquito. we wont let u only become a hashtag but become a step towards a better life for other black and brown children
— assata taught me (@sailorfemme) August 11, 2016
Arcos said the chase began when police received a report of vandalism in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. After police arrived on the scene, Romero ran away. As officers approached a corner Romero turned on to, they allegedly heard a gun shot. When they turned the corner, one of the officers fatally shot Romero.
A witness had seen Romero point a gun at police and pull the trigger. Another witness told the Los Angeles Times a different story, saying she saw Romero toss the gun into a fence as he ran and the gun shot accidentally. Police initially described Romero as a 20-year-old male.
#JesseRomero a 14 yr old boy was killed by los angeles police because he looked “20”…this boy is a CHILD pic.twitter.com/qEgjHk14kw
— #1 kimberly hater (@apunkgrl) August 10, 2016
The Deputy Chief described Romero’s death “particularly tragic” because of his age. “The tragedy of this event cannot be understated. In a community where violent crime continues to rise, particularly gang crime, this event underscores the need for youth programs and outreach, which could provide opportunities and alternatives for the youth of our community.”
He was still 14 years old regardless of what he looked like. #JesseRomero pic.twitter.com/dvtbLfJEDL
— ?CASSANDRA (@gringatears) August 11, 2016
A gathering was held for Romero’s friends and loved ones on Wednesday evening. A crowd of around 70 that swelled to over 100 held candles and signs reading, “El pueblo unido for Jesse” (The people united for Jesse) and “No más madres en luto” (No more mothers in mourning). The protestors marched down to the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Police Station chanting “Justice for Jesse” along the way.
The vigil Wednesday night for Jesse Romero, the 14-year-old boy shot and killed the day before by Los Angeles police pic.twitter.com/m8jef5NqPq
— Digital Surveillance (@Seccamsla) August 11, 2016
Romero is the 12th person killed by on-duty LAPD officers in 2016. Jesse would be celebrating his 15th birthday later this month. Video footage still pending.