Lompoc police officer shoots teenager

February 8, 2015

police tapeA Lompoc police officer shot a teenager who was under care for mental health issues on Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, the teen’s parents called Santa Barbara County mental health services for help with their 17-year-old son who was fighting with a sibling. Police officers then took the teen into protective custody and transported him to Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

At approximately 11:15 p.m., hospital staff discovered the teen had broken through a glass door and fled the hospital. Police officers were dispatched to find the boy.

Early Saturday morning, family members spotted the boy near his home and an officer was dispatched to the area. The teen then allegedly assaulted his brother with a dumbbell. The brother was transported to a hospital with a head injury and released.

The officer then found the teen on the street, stepped out of his patrol vehicle and told the boy to stop. However, the teen walked towards the officer with what the officer thought was a knife. The officer then shot the teen in the upper torso.

The teen was taken back into custody and transported to a local hospital. Police are not releasing the name of the boy, his condition, or information about the alleged knife at this time. An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

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Here’s my question to the LEO supporters. If the of a police officer is not even the top 20 most dangerous jobs, and the policy is designed to insure that officers go home when their shift is done, then is it legitimate for them to constantly use the hero rhetoric? You can’t have it both ways.

There’s too much police shooting and execution by cop. This has to stop. You only think it happens to others — wait till it happens to you or yours!

Alternatives: Tasers, pepper spray would take care of this sort of situation. Otherwise, if a gun must be used, shoot the guy in the foot. He can’t advance on you with a “knife” if he can’t walk. Or shoot the hand with the “knife” in it. Police are trained to shoot in the head or heart. It’s high time they learn to use that accuracy of skill for less deadly purpose.

Pretty good chance that if you don’t hit your brother in the head with a dumbbell, don’t break out of custody, and don’t advance on a police officer at night while his gun is drawn, while bloodied from breaking through a glass door, that you won’t be shot.

Mine and ours are taught to comply with law enforcement, particularly when their guns are drawn. I don’t think we have much to worry about.

All of those things are violent and not acceptable. However, if this is the correct way to deal with things why do we need to call the police for help? Let’s just cut out the middle man and shoot people ourselves. The parents called the police for HELP, and what they almost wound up with was a dead son.

But I am specifically concerned by the fact that all the articles I have read on this so far state that the officer shot him because he APPEARED to have a knife. I would think that they should be able to reveal whether he did or did not have a knife by now.

There needs to be a supreme level of authority and I suspect you were raised with very little respect for that. There can be no disabling shots or “wing ’em” protocol because you only get shot if your actions or advances pose a threat that could equate to death for someone.

A mentally unstable kid with a weapon (grass clippers, busted soda bottle or even the end of a damn rain bird for that matter) poses danger and even offers to take the life of the authority figure.

The warning comes at home around the dinner table or those times when you listen to adults but, don’t count on a warning when you approach THE law in this manner.

How is it that you can surmise how I was raised by my comment? It appears that what you did was see that I had concerns about this incident and then make a bunch of assumptions that have no connection to reality. You just manufactured something that fits in your binary world view. Forget about reading and understand what someone is communicating and addressing those points.

“Supreme level of authority?” “take the life of the authority figure?” What country are you living in? These are public servants who are well paid by our tax money and when you call them for help you should expect to get assistance and not a bigger problem than you already have.

Again, it has not been established that there was actually a knife. It also has not been established whether the kid threatened the officer or simply didn’t stop. I was taught to respect freedom, responsibility, bravery, and compassion, not supreme authority.

Add truth to that list of things I was taught, something that seems to be lacking on the part of public servants and officials these days.

Stunned says: “don’t count on a warning when you approach THE law in this manner.”

This goes double if delivering newspapers in a blue pickup like every morning.


“Law enforcement sources told The Times that at least seven officers opened fire. On Friday, the street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs. Residents said they wanted to know what happened.

“How do you mistake two Hispanic women, one who is 71, for a large black male?” said Richard Goo, 62, who counted five bullet holes in the entryway to his house.”

103 shots, hows that for respect?

“There needs to be a supreme level of authority”: I’m not saying that this is the case here, but that has been the rallying cry of just about every tyrant throughout history, including our former king.

mkaney, just remember-when you shoot ’em make sure they’re IN your house.

You’ll have to deal with the mess, but it’s a lot less fuss.

Excellent advice thank you :)

My guess is you have no experience in a truly threatening situation. While I appreciate the concept of peace and wish I could intact with a push of a button, that’s not our society. Anyone willing to do a job where they intentionally go into harms way in service of the community shouldn’t be hand cuffed by anyone not willing to do the same. Strap on a gun, strap on a fire suit or put on some fatigues, go into harms way try your concepts out for yourself. In case you missed it, 25 people died at a soccer match in Egypt yesterday. Our current system doesn’t seem too bad, you’d probably agree if you came down from your ivory tower or got your life experience from something other than what you conjure in your head or see on TV.

First lets get the Hollywood assumption out of the way. Shooting someone in the foot or anywhere other than the center of the chest is difficult to do with a handgun and extremely difficult to do if they are moving. Few cops (and few others outside of military special forces) are that well trained as shooters.

Second, use of a taser or pepper spray must be done at fairly close range. If a suspect armed with a deadly weapon is approaching rapidly, there is a significant risk of him being able to use that weapon if the taser doesn’t work perfectly (i.e. not deflected by something in the suspects pocket). In the case of pepper spray, a suspect may be so close as to be able to complete an attack in spite of it if he is particularly determined.

Finally, we don’t know from the information presented whether lighting was adequate to see what the 17-yr old kid had in his hand. We also don’t know how close he was to the cop when the cop made the decision to shoot. There may not have been time to use another alternative.

I have such a hard time trying to understand why anyone, confronted with a Law Enforcement Officer, would not do what the officer says. It is so simple unless you are drugged, drunk, angry, guilty of a crime, etc.

I will stand behind the officer unless or until it can be proven that the officer did his job in error. The officer has a family, is a member of the community, has a dangerous every time he puts that uniform on and most importantly, wants to go him to his family at the end of the day like the rest of us.

I do feel that in some cases protecting themselves within a 2-3 second decision can and will sometimes have a negative appearance of wrongdoing but I suggest that anyone questioning the majority of these incidents should do a ride-along and see for yourselves.

DISCLOSURE: I am NOT a member of law enforcement, nor have any family member in law enforcement, am not a victim of a crime, and have no dog in the fight.

The police officer is OBVIOUSLY at fault. His career must be ruined and the City of Lompoc must pay$$$$$$$$$$$$$

obispan says: 02/08/2015 at 8:11 pm

The police officer is OBVIOUSLY at fault. His career must be ruined and the City of Lompoc must pay$$$$$$$$$$$$$



But they don’t give us enough info to go by yet to go that direction.

Its the way the news & liaison play and create it, almost making it a grabbing entertainment for the world.

I will say in every and all cases the first priority of LE and government is NOT to give anyone anything concrete to go on and CYA itself from both criminal and civil liability from git go.

Those who know what a knife can really do would rather get shot with a gun than cut up with a knife. If someone is threatening me and conceals on of his hands I am gonna assume it is a knife.

JUSTIFIED SHOOT , you DONT go after a leo with a knife .

“the teen walked towards the officer with what the officer thought was a knife.” What if it turns out that the teen didn’t have a knife?

That would depend upon how close the teen was, whether it would be reasonable to expect the officer to see what was in his hand (it was on the street and well after dark).

Given that the teen had just shown a strong tendency to violence, I would cut the LEO a bit of slack unless it can be shown that he/she failed to give a warning (and had the time to do so) or could easily have seen that the teen was carrying something other than a knife. (In the latter case, it might have even been justified if the teen was too close to have time to employ lesser means like a taser.)

Fair enough. The teen certainly did have some anger issues, and the leo no doubt interpreted the circumstances in a way that would frighten him enough to use deadly force against this teen. Fortunately for this teen, it looks as though he’ll pull through.

Divisiveness is good for ratings, and the media has certainly covered issues of police-civilian violence in a way that promotes such. But not all instances where officers use force can be justified, and not all instances where civilians (including children) are hurt by leos are unjustified. Rather than entrenching ourselves on one side or the other, perhaps it would be better if we formed opinions that are specific to the circumstances of each context.

agreed. after all all other tactical options had clearly been exhausted.

you are hundreds of times more likely to be killed by a policeman than a terrorist.

you are thousands of times more likely to be killed by a policeman if you are mentally ill than not mentally ill.

“protecting an serving”

I for one am hoping we have more police among us than we do terrorists.

I also would not be opposed to those police shooting the terrorists.

Obviously, since the young person was mental, the officer should have not done anything, and let his throat be slit. Better yet, allow this poor young man to find another hapless person, preferably named Marcus, who could have magically talked to the crazy dude and get him the help he needed.

We shoot raging beasts with tranquilizers to halt their advances. Ever contemplated that in cases like this?

We also put animals in cages when we want to keep them contained, maybe we should try that with bad kids.

Hmm, if you do what a terrorists tells you to do, you die. If you do what a police officer tells you to do, you live. If you are mentally ill, might you be more likely to attack an officer in the first place? You seem to be one of those “train kills pedestrian” type of person, instead of “Pedestrian killed by walking in front of train” type


or foolishly walking on the tracks believing you’ll hear it coming from behind.

AKA walking in front of the train

..and if you are mentally ill, just attempted to murder your brother, escape custody, refuse to comply with police, advance toward an officer with what may be a knife in your hand, you are 100% likely to be shot.

Good riddance.

I am also concerned about police officers being over-reliant on use of deadly force under circumstances where it may not be necessary. However, if the information posted in this article is essentially correct, I would have to say this may not be a case of over-reaction. My sympathy for the plight of mentally ill people doesn’t extend to allowing them to endanger others’ lives — even people with law enforcement training.