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Teen Shot By LAPD 'A Tragedy,' Toy Gun Mistaken For Beretta

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Photo by ~db~ via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Photo by ~db~ via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has called the shooting of a 13-year-old Glassell Park boy carrying a pellet gun a "tragedy," reports the LA Times. "This is a tragedy for all involved, but in particular for the young man injured in this police shooting and for the officer who believed that he was protecting himself and his partner from a real threat," Beck said in a statement.

At night and with exact dimensions, the pellet gun was mistaken for a Beretta 92F. Beck continued, "We have seen far too much heartbreak involving these types of realistic-looking guns that are labeled as toys."

According to the LA Times, the incident occurred on the 3000 block of North Verdugo Road just before 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. LAPD officers on routine patrol stopped to investigate three pedestrians in the middle of the street. The teens ran and one ending up behind a van. Based on the 5-foot-7, 200-pound frame, officers assumed he was a "young adult male." The boy refused to comply instead producing "what was later found to be a fake Beretta 92F handgun." The officer fired his gun, striking the 13-year-old.

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LAFD responded, taking the boy to a hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery. The other teens -- ages 13 and 14 -- surrendered their fake handguns and "were detained without incident." In total, three fake weapons were recovered from the scene.

Detectives have determined that the boys "had been playing in the dark street, shooting pellets at one another with the fake handguns," reports the LA Times. No criminal charges are anticipated against the juveniles.