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

Victorville Sheriff Calls for Improved Mental Health Services after Tragic Shooting of 17-Year-Old Boy

On April 3, 2024, in Victorville, California, sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a 17-year-old boy with mental health issues after he armed himself with a knife and barricaded himself inside a bathroom at a home. The teenager had recently been treated at a hospital for self-inflicted injuries before escaping while being transferred to a mental health facility.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus emphasized the need for improved access to mental health services for troubled youth and highlighted the challenges faced by law enforcement as the primary resource in such crisis situations. He expressed his commitment to advocating for a more robust mental health system in the community to address similar incidents in the future.

The teenager was a foster youth residing in Hesperia and had been previously disruptive at his sisters’ home in Victorville, where he resided. Deputies were called to the residence by someone who wanted him arrested due to his 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 these efforts, however, he was ultimately shot and pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after another fatal shooting involving San Bernardino deputies and an autistic 15-year-old boy on April 3rd of that year.

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