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Police Kill Teenager, Wound Bystander

Shooting in Santa Ana takes place near a school, prompting criticism by some area residents. No names have been released.

January 28, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed by police Monday after allegedly opening fire on officers chasing him down a Santa Ana street.

A second teenager not involved in the chase was wounded.

The 17-year-old, whose name was withheld pending notification of relatives, was declared dead at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana after the 2:50 p.m. incident near Lime Street and Van Ness Avenue.

The 15-year-old bystander remained hospitalized Monday with a bullet wound in the upper leg, police said. His name also was withheld.

The shooting -- less than a block from Willard Intermediate School where classes had let out 30 minutes earlier -- was witnessed by dozens of children on their way home, prompting criticism of the officers' actions.

"I heard the shots, came out and there were all these kids out from school," said Marcella Cervantess, a neighbor.

"I don't understand how they can shoot that guy in front of all those kids."

Sgt. Baltazar De La Riva, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department, said the incident began when two officers on a routine patrol saw the boy, whom they knew to be on probation, walking south in the 1100 block of Van Ness Street. Knowing that a condition of his probation was to avoid that neighborhood, De La Riva said, the officers tried to question him.

Instead, he said, the teenager took off running.

"At a certain point he turned around and fired at them with a handgun," De La Riva said.

Several witnesses said the boy collapsed into the arms of a hysterical 12-year-old girl, whom police took away for questioning. As is customary in police-involved shootings, the officers were placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the county district attorney's office, De La Riva said.

For some residents, the shooting underscored fears of violence in the neighborhood, which, they said, has been the scene of previous shootings.

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Times staff writer Jennifer Mena contributed to this report.

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