Students and staffers at Torrey Pines High School began their week under a pall of grief and sorrow Monday morning, two days after police fatally shot a 15-year-old boy who pulled a BB pistol on them during a predawn confrontation at the campus.
Counselors and psychologists were called to the Carmel Valley school to offer support and guidance to anyone needing help in coping with the traumatic death of the youth, who was enrolled at the campus.
A makeshift memorial commemorated the loss with cards and flowers at the shooting site, and some students wore yellow to their classes as a means of promoting suicide awareness.
Authorities have withheld the name of the boy who died in the shooting, but friends have identified him to news crews as Torrey Pines freshman Jacob Peterson.
Officers were sent to the Del Mar Heights Road campus to check the welfare of a 15-year-old boy about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, SDPD Lt. Mike Holden said.
A pair of arriving officers spotted the teen in a parking lot in front of the school. As they approached, he pulled what appeared to be a firearm from his waistband and pointed it at one of them, ignoring orders to drop the weapon, Holden said.
As he began to advance on one of the lawmen, both of them opened fire. Medics took the teen to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Following the shooting, investigators determined that the boy had been wielding a BB pistol and that he had made the call that brought officers to the school.
Despite the circumstances, which suggested that the shooting might have been an instance of so-called “suicide by cop,” authorities have not designating it as such.
On the school’s Facebook page, Principal Rob Coppo wrote that the aftermath of the boy’s death “will be challenging for us all.”
“As a community, we will need to support each other and unite as a … family,” Coppo stated.
In a statement released Monday morning, the boy’s mother said her family was “mourning the loss of a loving and wonderful young man. We ask that you respect our privacy as we remember him and all he meant to us.”
The boy’s peers described him to reporters as a kind and caring person.
“He was a really sweet dude,” Torrey Pines High student Dennis Hong told 10News. “He always went out of his way to help kids with, like, homework and stuff.”
— City News Service
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