Lompoc police officer shot teen armed with a fork

February 11, 2015

police tapeLompoc police said the teen shot in the chest by an officer Saturday night was armed with a fork. Police arrested the hospitalized 17-year-old on two counts of attempted homicide.

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.

However, the teen jumped through a glass door, fled the hospital and then assaulted his brother with a dumbbell. The brother was transported to a hospital with a head injury and released.

Officer Timothy Xiong found the teen on the street and told him to stop, police said. However, the teen walked towards Xiong with a fork the officer mistook for 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. He is expected to survive the shooting.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has concluded its investigation into the officer-involved shooting.



  1. Slowerfaster says:

    The bigger lesson that a militarized, trigger-happy police force sends to the general population is:
    If you, or a family member has troubles, DON’T call the police. It could get you or a loved one killed.

    (2) 20 Total Votes - 11 up - 9 down
  2. Vagabond says:

    I don’t care if it was a fork or a carrot. Why was someone with legal deadly force put into a position that resulted in the death of a sick person? Is there a better way to respond to this kind of thing?

    (-7) 19 Total Votes - 6 up - 13 down
    • joseywales says:

      “just doing their job”

      (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • Extremely Stoic says:

      He died? The article says he was expected to survive.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  3. willieslo says:

    Was it a gun? No
    Could it have been a knife? It depends on the eyes of the beholder (11 year veteran)

    Was it legal? Always yes, an air-tight CYA probable cause is articulated to legally justify till rebutted (Credibility of a mental case is not sufficient to rebut)!
    Was it Moral? Maybe, there are some officers that are skilled in taking down a person & others who don’t want to risk injury and get their uniform torn despite their training.
    Was it necessary? Maybe since it is based according to LEO training and PC can always justify it.
    It was NOT a gun!
    From: The Book of 5 Rings “the gun has no equal among weapons. It is the supreme power on the field before the ranks clash.”
    (The gun is positioned next to A LEO draw hand, the mace and taser is position arear thus the most lethal force is quickest & easiest – “it takes a half second to draw and shoot!”)

    I am inclined to agree with suggestions that highly paid LEO be more active in ju-jusu or akido training – its good for the sudden and subtle moves they worry about and spirtually good for them!

    (-7) 19 Total Votes - 6 up - 13 down
    • mkaney says:

      They want the glory and the pay and the good benefits, but they don’t ACTUALLY want to take any risk. Seems like a bit of a scam to me.

      (-3) 31 Total Votes - 14 up - 17 down
      • willieslo says:

        “They want the glory and the pay and the good benefits, but they don’t ACTUALLY want to take any risk.”

        The Book of 5 Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
        “the way of a warrior is resolute acceptance of death (fearless). Although not only warriors but priests, women, peasants and lowlier folk have been known to die readily in the cause of duty or out of shame, this is a different thing. The warrior is different in that studying the Way of Stradegy is based on overcoming men. By victory gained in crossing swords with individuals, or enjoining battle with large numbers, the warrior can attain POWER and FAME for themselves and their lord.”

        (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
      • joseywales says:

        “just doing their job”

        (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
        • willieslo says:

          “just doing their job”

          Its a good comment. Easily said!
          But I agree according to their standard training, policy and in “some” cases the cop’s mentality!
          However I am seeing growing numbers of different type mental cases and medical conditions (e.g. seizures) increasing in the SLO county, “some” needlessly resulting in death.

          (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  4. mkaney says:

    I would like to pose this question to those who don’t share my views on this. Does it make any difference what distance the kid was from the police officer at the time he was shot?

    (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
    • mkaney says:

      And of course what distance he was from any other people

      (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
    • Downtown Bob says:

      Yes, distance was certainly a factor in the officers decision to use deadly force. Distance between himself (about 21 feet has become a standard in sharp instruments means that before you could stop the attack you will be injured) and of course if he was running towards some other innocent people with a knife given the fact he had already injured and attacked people would come into playl

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • mkaney says:

        I cannot understand why the press does not ask more questions. I want to know what the chief meant when he said the suspect refused to stop and then advanced on the police officer? Does this mean he was running away and then turned around and took one step? Bureaucrats choose their words carefully. I can guarantee that if he was close enough to have “lunged” or if he had actually attacked, those would have been the words used. But “advanced” is a very clever word designed to create a false impression without actually lying. These details are important, and the local media needs to stop printing press releases and start asking questions.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          Asking questions in a case like this may not get you any answers — at least until an investigation is complete and possibly never. Your questions are legitimate but they may have legitimate reasons for not answering them — and I agree that a coverup is not “legitimate.”

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  5. Side_Show_Bob says:

    $100 bucks says Rosie O’Donnell will never set foot in the town of Lompoc.

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  6. st33L says:

    Que the arm chair crowd with ZERO combatives or tactical experience… Curious though, at what point would you condone the use of a firearm? Since apparently metal objects and 17 year olds aren’t dangerous…

    (10) 28 Total Votes - 19 up - 9 down
    • mkaney says:

      What ever happened to the notion of “equal force” that used to dominate the discussion of when it was acceptable for anyone to harm anyone?

      (-7) 23 Total Votes - 8 up - 15 down
      • st33L says:

        Hindsight is 20/20 huh?

        (12) 20 Total Votes - 16 up - 4 down
      • st33L says:

        So by your standard this should have turned into a fork fight? Equal force doesn’t mean equal weapons. I suggest you read the california penal code.

        (8) 26 Total Votes - 17 up - 9 down
        • mkaney says:

          No it was an actual question. That is what I remember the standard being at one time in this state.

          (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down
          • Downtown Bob says:

            Equal force has never been the standard Einstein…officers have always been authorized to use the force necessary to overcome resistance, meaning above a knife or whatever. It turned out to be a fork, but you decide in a split second the difference knowing that either one can end up in your neck within seconds. For crying out loud, this nut just went through s commercial glass window no easy feat!

            (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
        • joseywales says:

          foresight is gold

          (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
    • mkaney says:

      I’ll tell you what.. if you can’t handle a kid with a fork and you have a baton, a stun gun, handfcuffs, zipties, a handgun, and a radio to call for backup, then it would seem like combative and tactical training and experience is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS. Might as well just hire some idiots and pay them $10/hr to do the job.

      (3) 23 Total Votes - 13 up - 10 down
      • st33L says:

        Once again, your ignorance knows no bounds. All of the items you listed only mean something If you can use them. Things like body armor don’t help you if I stab you in the neck. A little advice, if it’s a fair fight, your tactics suck. Did you want the peace officer to call a timeout to call in backup?

        (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
        • mkaney says:

          I notice you didn’t respond to my question above about whether the distance between the two mattered.

          My ignorance may no know bounds, but neither does your unquestioning allegiance to authority. I will gladly take the former over the latter.

          (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  7. bobfromsanluis says:

    Once again, the poor to nonexistent training that police officers receive in learning how to subdue a suspect without a firearm raises its ugly head. Even if the fork had actually been a knife, a properly trained would have been able to subdue the suspect without the use of deadly force. And not to mention, where was the officer’s taser ? This wasn’t weapon designed to inflict lethal injury; if the police officer is so scared for his life by the sight of a mentally disabled 17 year old holding a fork (or a knife, giving him the benefit of the doubt) that he has draw and fire his service weapon in a lethal manner, the officer should look for another line of work.

    Yeah, I wasn’t there, I was not the one facing down this person who the officer apparently had no knowledge of his history, but I think there is absolutely no excuse for the use of a firearm in this situation. For both the 17 year old and the officer involved, I am glad the shooting wasn’t fatal.

    (-8) 40 Total Votes - 16 up - 24 down
    • Stunned says:

      What’s your logic on this Bob? “Well, that’s a weapon alright but it doesn’t fall within certain parameters so I’ll…..”. About that time you’d be wearing a shiny kitchen fork in the side of your head. Did you read that he’d beaten his brother to a pulp with a piece of iron?

      I too wonder if I would have drawn down with the taser but, who knows. The fact remains that its within law enforcements guidelines to drop anyone with lethal force to neutralize that threat.

      (8) 28 Total Votes - 18 up - 10 down
      • mkaney says:

        No, his brother suffered “minor injuries” and was immediately released after treatment. So clearly he didn’t attack his brother in the way they intentionally IMPLY, but probably threw the barbell in his general direction when his brother was trying to restrain him. So you start with a medium scale domestic fight with minor injuries and the way to take control of the situation is to put a bullet hole in someone? What the hell is wrong with the people in this country. That is total incompetence on the part of “public safety” employees.

        Do you REALLY HONESTLY think that a 17 year old kid was going to physically attack a police officer with a .45 caliber gun in his hand? Give me a break!

        (-10) 30 Total Votes - 10 up - 20 down
        • Side_Show_Bob says:

          “Do you REALLY HONESTLY think that a 17 year old kid was going to physically attack a police officer with a .45 caliber gun in his hand? Give me a break!”

          You don’t get out much, do you?

          (12) 32 Total Votes - 22 up - 10 down
          • mkaney says:

            Yeah as a matter of fact I do. And I spend probably too much time trying to dig up the factual details of these stories as they become available. If you follow up on them instead of just forming your views from the initial stories that come out, you find that huge percentage of the time that although that was the perception created, that’s not what happened.

            (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
        • st33L says:

          Intent is proven by actions and previous actions, not what you “think”

          (4) 20 Total Votes - 12 up - 8 down
    • st33L says:

      So Bob can you elaborate on how long you were an LEO? Or site examples of this officers poor or nonexistent training? Or are you making unfounded inferences about a topic that you have zero experience in.

      (8) 20 Total Votes - 14 up - 6 down
      • Stunned says:

        33L….let me help you with that. HE’S CLUELESS but types a good game at this point. BTW-he took serious aim and with forthought and malice when he struck his brother with the dumbell. Read that somewhere along the way. I have no doubt that if the only way he’d avoid jail was to fork an officer he would have given that a whirl.

        (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
      • bobfromsanluis says:

        I can state that I have never been a member of law enforcement. I have had about 4 years of Aikido training however, and have used that training on a few incidents.

        The thing that makes Aikido different than most other types of martial arts actually is really twofold. Aikido is a defensive art (at least the type that is taught by recognized instructors, not a Steven Segal type fighting), so being a defensive only art, one has to practice being attacked. During a typical training lesson, you usually focus on one or two techniques, starting off kind of slow (if there are beginners or less advanced students in the session) and you keep repeating the attack and defense move until you achieve the moves in full-speed, real-time attack and defense. Second, because you train by being attacked, over and over, if you ever are attacked in real life, you are trained to simply respond. There is no hesitation, there is no “what do I do now?” thinking, you simply respond because that is how you have been trained.

        If law enforcement officers would practice some sort of version of being attacked, and train on a regular basis for weaponless take downs and disarmament moves, when they encounter situations in the field of idiots wielding forks or knives, they would have another tool in their arsenal; they would not have to instinctively reach for the lethal force first.

        (-3) 13 Total Votes - 5 up - 8 down
        • OnTheOtherHand says:

          Bob, I am sure that training would work more often than not in the situations that you describe. However, it only takes one instance of underestimating the fighting skill or speed of your opponent to render you severely injured or dead. Police encounter such situations too often to take that chance with an armed assailant — even one with a fork or one that is simply much bigger/stronger physically. In addition, someone acting in a manner described as mentally ill could be under the influence of something like PCP instead (which tends to multiply their physical strength while dividing their ability to feel pain.)

          I do agree that police training could be improved in not only learning Aikido or other manual self defense tactics. They should also be selected more for the mental ability to accurately evaluate and the state of mind of people they encounter and trained better in de-escalation tactics. I think that they put too much emphasis on selecting and training aggression and dominance-oriented policy procedure. (They have their place but not every place their is even the slightest possibility of conflict.)

          However, given all that, there are times and circumstances where use of deadly force is the best reasonable option. Assuming the article here is essentially correct, this could well be the case here: Mentally ill, almost full-grown male, recent history of attack on another and physically determined enough to break through a heavy glass door, refused initial orders, turned around and advanced on officer. Details such as visibility (it was night time), how big and strong the teen was, what orders were given, how far away he was when he advanced toward the officer and how fast he came at him are not given here but are important. Unless those details turn out to be counter to the narrative so far, I am inclined to give the officer the benefit of the doubt.

          (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
          • bobfromsanluis says:

            Apparently I haven’t explained enough of how Aikido works for you to get the full understanding; because of the repeated practice by those who train regularly, any attack is met in a manner that renders the attacker disarmed, disorientated and subdued. It does not matter if the attacker has a fork, a baseball bat, a samurai sword or a pipe; there are only so many different types of attack when using a non-firearm weapon. A sword, baseball bat and a pipe are all used in the same manner; same thing for a knife, fork, chisel or anything else that isn’t as large as a bat or pipe. The defensive moves are the same for the various groups of weapons, and most Aikido instructors regularly train the students against all of the various attacks.

            As for those who are PCP or any other sort of drug and either have some sort of superhuman strength or the inability to feel pain, it doesn’t matter in the least if your techniques are clean and well practiced. Aikido’s moves are based on a study of how the human body is designed to move, and to be moved. Someone super strong has no advantage over a seasoned Aikido practitioner, as the attacker will never be able to grip or hold long enough to have any advantage. The attacker that can feel no pain will be immobilized just as easily as anyone else because the moves and holds are so effective that it isn’t the pain of a hold that controls the situation, it is the effectiveness of the holds that gives the advantage to the person executing them.

            I fully understand that there are times when a lethal response is needed, especially when facing an attacker wielding lethal force themselves; my largest concern is that far too many in law enforcement seem to rely on either tools like a baton or taser, or they immediately reach for the deadly force without regard as to how the situation might be brought under control in a less-than lethal manner. And most of that is due to lack of effective training, and lack of ongoing practice and additional training.

            (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  8. Stunned says:

    Well, I guess his tine was up.

    (12) 26 Total Votes - 19 up - 7 down
  9. jarhead says:

    still a weapon , LEO did nothing wrong , sounds like the parents waited to long to intervene , to bad he got shot , but at least he will survive and HOPEFULLY get the needed help

    (7) 29 Total Votes - 18 up - 11 down
    • marcusaurelius says:

      if an leo is afraid of a 17 yo mentally ill child with a fork then it might be time to find another line of work…..

      (-21) 49 Total Votes - 14 up - 35 down
      • Stunned says:

        marcus…..you would have been afraid as well and I’m going to venture a guess that you have never nor will ever face such danger.

        (9) 25 Total Votes - 17 up - 8 down
        • mkaney says:

          I think at some point in their life that VAST MAJORITY of people will face a danger greater than a kid with a fork who is running the opposite direction.

          (-5) 25 Total Votes - 10 up - 15 down
          • st33L says:

            Where are the facts showing he was running away? Was he shot in the back?

            (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
            • mkaney says:

              No because at some point he turned around like a dumbass. Read the chief’s word’s carefully. It does not at any point say he lunged at or attacked the officer.. It said he refused to stop and then advanced on the officer. If you think for a moment that if there was a real threat the chief would not have made it very clear in his wording that there was an immediate threat, then you have had no experience with bureaucrats. This is the same reason that he repeatedly said “what appeared to be a knife” before he actually said it was a fork, to create the impression first and reveal what he already knew later, “per protocol”

              (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
              • OnTheOtherHand says:

                Your explanation is speculation. It is possible but there is no evidence given here to support your version that the almost full-grown teen had merely turned around and wasn’t coming at the officer with the fork in his hand.

                The good news is that he will likely survive and be able to give his side of the story later. It will be interesting to hear.

                (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • mkaney says:

      It is a very sad day when soldiers who claim to fight for our freedom support this kind of authoritarianism. The parents called the police for HELP. The WHOLE PROBLEM was that the mentally ill kid was out of control. Therefore, the police officer knew before the incident that this was not an individual who was going to peacefully put his hands behind his back. The kid was not rational, he was MENTALLY ILL. It would be one thing if the kid had lunged at the police officer with a long blade or had a gun in his hand but he had a fork.

      The police officer, sworn to serve and protect, paid for by taxpayers like the parents who called, put his own life first and foremost above the lives of any citizen he was supposed to serve or protect. At the very least, one one suggest that the police officer did not do a very good job, but you continue with your LEOs can do no wrong and LEOs are heroes mantra.

      If this is the kind of service and protection we can expect from the police, there is no point in having them. They are not our overlords, they are our employees.

      (-13) 39 Total Votes - 13 up - 26 down
      • shelworth says:

        A mentally ill teenager can kill you just as dead as a sane adult.

        (19) 27 Total Votes - 23 up - 4 down
        • mkaney says:

          Fine, then like I said, there is no use for police officers if this is the extent of the skills they have for de-escalation. We should just try to handle the problems ourselves because it sounds like there is a better chance of survival for everyone involced.

          (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down

Comments are closed.