A 16-year-old Compton youth with a bullet in his upper back was pronounced dead at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center early Friday. Renee Amador was transported there by friends, who later claimed that he had been shot while fleeing from a Compton police officer.
Police say Patrolman Roberto Valentin fired shots at two fleeing youths in the 200 block of Willow Avenue about the same time but were not sure Amador was one of the youths. Valentin chased a youth who had a pistol in his hand, although no shots were fired by the youth, police said. Amador's friends, however, said the dead youth was unarmed.
The incident began shortly after midnight as Valentin and his partner, Frederick Reynolds, approached a group of young men who gather regularly in a courtyard behind a low-rise apartment complex. Police say the spot is known as a drug-selling location.
The young men began running in several directions when police arrived, several said later. Amador's friends said that he fell behind and that they did not know he was shot until they later regrouped and went searching for him. They found him unconscious and rushed him to the hospital.