A 13-year-old was shot and wounded by police in a California cemetery on Thursday after falsely claiming he killed three people and firing a gun while in confrontation with officers, officials said.
Around 1:50 p.m. Thursday, police received a call from a 13-year-old boy who reported that he had just killed three people, the San Bernardino Police Department said in a news release. (An investigation later found the claim to be untrue.)
The boy was calling from Pioneer Memorial Cemetery.
While he was on the phone, the boy told the dispatcher, “If they don’t kill me, I’ll have to kill them,” apparently referring to officers who would be responding to the scene, according to police.
A 13-year-old was shot by police at a San Bernardino cemetery on Aug. 6, 2021, after claiming he’d killed three people and allegedly firing a gun while in confrontation with officers. (San Bernardino Police Department)Police said that while they were preparing to make verbal contact with the boy and negotiate his surrender, the boy fired an additional shot from the gun. (San Bernardino Police Department)
During the call, the dispatcher reported hearing the boy fire multiple shots from a gun.
“There were several uninvolved bystanders in the cemetery at the time the suspect fired the shots, and their safety was jeopardized by the suspect’s actions,” the police’s news release states.
When officers arrived at the cemetery, they found the boy armed with a handgun that was loaded with an extended magazine, officials said. They took positions around the perimeter to try to contain the suspected shooter.
Police said that while they were preparing to make verbal contact with the boy and negotiate his surrender, the boy fired an additional shot from the gun.
“Despite the suspect’s provocation, the officers maintained containment for an extended period of time and continued their efforts to end the incident peacefully by establishing a dialogue,” police said.
Officers said they gave numerous commands to drop the gun, but the boy failed to comply.
“Ultimately, the suspect escalated the confrontation when he pointed a gun at officers resulting in an officer-involved shooting,” police said.
The boy was struck. He was taken to a local hospital where he is being treated for his injuries.
No bystanders or officers were injured during the incident.
An investigation found that the boy’s claim to have killed three people was not true. Detectives found two handguns, four additional loaded magazines and a large cache of ammunition in the boy’s possession, which police say indicates that he had prepared for a prolonged armed confrontation.
The boy’s motive remains unknown and the investigation is ongoing.