San Diego

Students, Community Mourn Torrey Pines High School Student, 15, Killed by Police

In the parking lot of Torrey Pines High School Saturday morning, the 15-year-old pulled a BB air gun from his waistband and pointed it at San Diego Police Department officers, refusing to drop it, police said.

Students and community members stopped by Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) Sunday, dropping off flowers and notes as they mourned the loss of a student shot and killed by police officers Saturday in the campus' parking lot.

"I didn't know you, but my heart aches for you and your family," one note left at the growing memorial said. 

Kathryn Brinton, Parent: "I have a daughter that's 15,” parent Kathryn Brinton told NBC 7. “A neighbor … that's 15. And also that there were 2 police officers whose lives are going to be changed irrevocably. This is a great tragedy for them and their families."

The shooting happened Saturday morning just before 3:30 a.m. when the teen called 911, asking officers to conduct a welfare check on a minor -- himself -- who was standing at the TPHS parking lot in the 3700 block of Del Mar Heights Road in Carmel Valley, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Acting Homicide Capt. Mike Holden said.

The student spoke about himself in the third person in what Holden described as a routine, "very general 'check the welfare'" call to police. 

The caller stated that the minor who needed to be checked on did not have a weapon, Holden said.

Two officers -- a 28-year veteran and a 4-year veteran of the SDPD -- headed to the parking lot and found the student standing in the front parking lot of the school.

As the officers got out of their patrol cars, the teenager pulled out the BB gun that was hidden in his waistband and pointed it at one of the officers. Investigators said both officers drew their weapons while repeatedly telling the teen to drop his weapon. Holden said the teen refused and instead, continued to point the BB gun at one officer and began walking towards the same officer.

The officers once again told the teen to drop the weapon.

Fearing for their safety, Holden said the SDPD officers fired their weapons at the teen, striking him multiple times.

The officers ran to give the teenager first aid; he was rushed to Scripps La Jolla Hospital where he died a short time later.

A "semi-automatic BB air pistol" was recovered by police at the scene, Holden said.

The student will not be identified, the SDPD said, due to his age. He lived in the neighborhood with his family.

“I think this is an incident that is devastating to so many lives involved. I find it tragic. I think we need to do a better job of nurturing our children and building community. Especially around those families in need,” added Brinton.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can reach out to the SDPD's Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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