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Trigger Finger?

LAPD officer will not face charges in fatal shooting of Boyle Heights teen.

Sol+Marquez%2C+left%2C+holds+a+sign+in+support+of+the+family+of+14-year-old+Jesse+Romero.
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Trigger Finger?

Sol Marquez, left, holds a sign in support of the family of 14-year-old Jesse Romero.

Sol Marquez, left, holds a sign in support of the family of 14-year-old Jesse Romero.

Al Seib

Sol Marquez, left, holds a sign in support of the family of 14-year-old Jesse Romero.

Al Seib

Al Seib

Sol Marquez, left, holds a sign in support of the family of 14-year-old Jesse Romero.

Melorie Cruz, Contributor

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Prosecutors rejected to file any criminal charges against a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer who fatally shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights in 2016, According to a memo released by the District Attorney’s Office.

In a Federal lawsuit, the parents of Romero claimed that the gun he possessed discharged when it hit the ground after he, Romero, had thrown it over the fence. However, because shots were fired, the Justice System Integrity Division concluded that Officer Medina, who was on scene, “used reasonable force in self-defense and defense of others”.

That evening, Officer Medina and Officer Higareda responded to a vandalism call. When they arrived to the scene, Officer Higareda recognized it as a gang hangout, but Romero and another individual ran off, the officers to follow in pursuit.

A video surveillance camera captured Romero running with a gun in his waistband; Officer Medina was immediately informed by Officer Higareda to be on the lookout in case Romero pulled the trigger.

When Officer Medina moved closer to Romero, he noticed that he was in a squatting position with his right hand extended out as if he were about to shoot. In response, Officer Medina fired two rounds at the teen.

Witnesses at the scene stated that Romero took the gun from his waistband to throw it towards the fence and when he did, he was shot twice and fell to the ground.

The Los Angeles Police Commission reviewed Medina’s shootings, and faulted him for some of the tactics he used. They also noted that it was the second time Medina had shot somebody in 12 days.

A local Boyle Heights woman, going only by her first name–Maggie, commented on the prosecutor’s decision:

“A young kid’s life was lost; what is a 14-year-old boy doing carrying a gun late at night when he is supposed to be in his house getting ready to go to school the next day? The police officer only responded when he saw that the kid was armed and about to shoot.”

As news of the prosecution’s decision reached the Boyle Heights community, its being met with mixed reactions.

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