SBCS deputies kick down bathroom door, fatally shoot armed teen in midst of mental health crisis

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

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

He had locked himself in a bathroom and threatened to hurt himself when deputies kicked down the door and tried to arrest him, the department said. The deputies first spent about 30 minutes trying to de-escalate the situation, authorities said.

Video released by the Sheriff’s Department shows deputies struggling with the 17-year-old — who was armed with a knife — in the bathtub. One officer was cut, and a deputy shot the teen, who later died at the hospital, according to the department.

The boy’s name has not been released pending family notification.

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

“We have a mental health crisis on our hands, not just in this county, but in the entire state,” Dicus said at the briefing.

The incident comes on the heels of the March shooting of 15-year-old Ryan Gainer, an autistic boy who was shot and killed by deputies 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 concerns from activists about law enforcement’s use of force against people with autism and those who suffer from mental health issues.

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