(CNN)Los Angeles police shot and killed a 14-year-old boy after he shot at the officers, police said Wednesday.
The department’s gang unit was investigating a vandalism call in a neighborhood east of downtown around 5:35 p.m. Tuesday when they encountered two youths. One ran off and two officers pursued, police said.
“According to a witness who saw the subject running from the officers, the witness saw the subject shoot a handgun in the direction of the pursuing officers,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos during a news conference. “While the loss of life is always tragic, it is particularly so when the loss involves a youth.”
The teenager, identified as Jesse James Romero by the Los Angeles County Coroner, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other suspect did not flee police and he was questioned and released.
Neither officer was harmed, but they heard a gunshot as they were rounding the corner, Arcos said. One of the officers then fired back and killed Romero, Arcos said.
A loaded handgun was recovered by the teenager’s body but it was too soon for investigators to determine whether it had been fired or whether it had been used by Romero, Arcos said.
Investigators will examine the gun for fingerprints and DNA, and review the video from the officers’ body cameras, he said.
Arcos said the vandalism was related to gang activity, but he stopped short of saying Romero was in a gang.