A 17-year-old boy fell to his death this weekend while climbing a Los Angeles bridge in an apparent social media stunt, police said. The boys father is disputing that claim.
In an interview with NBC Los Angeles, Paul Luna was adamant that his oldest boy, Anthony, was not trying to go live on social media or post online when he plunged off the 6th Street Viaduct. His son, Luna said, was goofing around with friends on a weekend in LA and was climbing the bridge’s arches, as others have done.
“Since that bridge has opened, people are riding bikes over that thing. I’ve seen people roller skating over that thing, walking over it, sleeping on top of it. So, it made it look like it was pretty possible,” Luna said.
Police were sent to the bridge around 2 a.m. Saturday and found the boy, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.
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The teen slipped and fell “when climbing upon one of the arches, in order to post, apparently, a social media broadcast,” Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday during a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission.
Asked Thursday about the discrepancy, the LAPD said it would have no further comment beyond what Moore said during the police commission meeting. Luna said that was evidence the department jumped the gun when claiming his son died in a botched stunt.
"Obviously, he doesn't know what he's talking about, so that's why he doesn't have no comment," Luna said. Given how many stunts have been performed on the bridge, he also wondered why it's still so easy for people to climb it.
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He also noted that his son was an aspiring rapper who was two weeks from graduating in Oxnard.
The bridge opened last July. The $588-million span, which replaced an 84-year-old Art Deco span, runs 3,500 feet (1,066.80 meters) over the concrete-lined Los Angeles River and connects downtown to the historic Eastside.
The bridge, which has thousands of LED lights and views of LA’s skyline, is the largest and most expensive span ever built in the city. It was designed to become a city landmark.