The Los Angeles Police Department is still dealing with the fallout from the unfortunate shooting that took the life of 14-year old Jesse James Romero. The teen accused of vandalism was shot dead by LAPD police officers on Tuesday after allegedly firing first.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s gang unit was called to Boyle Heights neighborhood after acts of vandalism were reported. The responding officers chased a suspect later identified as Romero, after which the teen was killed, shot dead by the police.
So who is Jesse James Romero? What’s his story? And how does his death affect the current state of race relations in America?
Jesse James Romero Was A Typical Teen Who Likes Sports
According to the LA Times, Romero was born in Puebla, Mexico. When he was one, his mother brought him to the United States where he grew up. His family moved to Boyle Heights in 2009 and has lived there since.
A family member described him as a normal teenager who liked sports and that he never owned or held a gun his entire life. His cousin also described him as “Just a kid, running up and down the streets, having fun, going to the park, playing basketball.”
However, reports suggest that Romero was involved with gangs in his area. A claim which family friend, Lourdes Miranda did confirm.
Miranda did clarify her statement that despite being involved with gangs, he was a good kid and only joined because he thought it would make him “cool.” Another family friend also revealed that Romero was enrolled in an anti-gang program.
A vigil for Romero was held in Mariachi Plaza Los Angeles on the night of Wednesday, one day after the shooting. A Go Fund Me page has also been set up to help with his funeral expenses.
Jesse James Romero is the youngest person to be shot by the LAPD since the 2010 shooting of a 13-year old boy. Racial activists Black Lives Matter have since demanded the resignation of LAPD chief Charlie Beck regarding the death Romero and another victim, Redel Jones.