Deputies shoot armed 17-year-old in midst of mental health crisis

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies shot and killed a 17-year-old boy Tuesday who authorities said was suffering a mental health crisis — the second teen killed by law enforcement in less than a year month.

The boy was inside his sister’s foster home in Victorville when officers responded around 1 p.m. to a call of an “unwanted subject” at the home in the 17100 block of Forest Hills Drive, according to the sheriff’s department.

He had locked himself in a bathroom and threatened to harm himself when officers broke down the door and tried to arrest him, the department said. Deputies initially spent about 30 minutes trying to deescalate the situation, authorities said.

Video released by the sheriff’s department shows officers wrestling with the 17-year-old — armed with a knife — in the bathtub. A police officer was mauled and a deputy shot the teen, who later died at a hospital, according to the department.

Body camera footage released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department shows deputies struggling with a 17-year-old armed with a knife. (San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department)

The boy’s name has been withheld pending notification of family.

He had been taken to the hospital days before the shooting for “harming himself,” San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus said at a news conference Wednesday. The teen was supposed to have been taken from the hospital to a psychiatric facility, but he “ran away,” according to Dicus, and went to the Victorville home.

“We are facing a mental health crisis, not just in this county, but across the state,” Dicus said during the briefing.

The incident follows the March shooting of Ryan Gainer, 15, an autistic boy who was shot and killed by police at his home after they said he threatened one with a gardening tool. His family had called for help because the boy was breaking glass and hitting his sister.

The March shooting heightened activists’ concerns about law enforcement’s use of force against people with autism and those with mental health issues.

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