Sheriff’s deputies in Southern California shoot and kill armed teen struggling with mental health issues

Juvenile Mental Health Crisis: Two Deaths at the Hands of Law Enforcement Highlight Need for Change

A 17-year-old boy with mental health issues was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in Victorville, California, on April 3, 2024. The incident took place at a home where the teenager’s sisters, who are also in foster care, resided.

The teenager had recently been treated at a hospital for self-inflicted injuries before escaping while being transferred to a mental health facility. He later arrived at the home in Victorville where his sisters lived. Deputies were called to the residence by someone who wanted the boy arrested due to previous disruptive behavior.

Upon encountering the deputies, the teen locked himself in a bathroom with a knife. After attempting to get him to surrender for approximately thirty minutes, the deputies decided to forcibly enter the bathroom when the boy threatened self-harm. During the confrontation, the teen was pepper-sprayed, and a deputy sustained injuries from the knife.

Despite efforts to subdue him, the boy was shot and pronounced dead at a hospital. This incident occurred shortly after another fatal shooting involving San Bernardino deputies and a 15-year-old boy with autism. In both cases, the deputies asserted that they had been met with violent behavior.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus emphasized the need for improved access to mental health services for troubled youth and highlighted

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