Kuala Lumpur Post

World

US teen fatally shoots self at sheriff’s station

CITY OF INDUSTRY — A teenage girl fatally shot herself with a deputy’s gun in the lobby of a sheriff’s station in California, authorities said on Monday.

The girl, who has not been named, began hammering on the door of the station in the City of Industry, near Los Angeles, on Sunday evening.

As officers went to open the door, the girl managed to grab a service weapon from one of them.

“The juvenile lunged into the lobby and reached for the deputy’s holstered firearm and took possession of it,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

“A struggle ensued between the deputies and juvenile who was armed with the deputy’s firearm,” the release said.

“During the struggle, the juvenile suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics.

Homicide detectives were probing the incident, which officials said appeared to have stemmed from a call officers had received relating to a family disturbance.

US police are routinely armed and carry their weapons with them at all times.

The LA County sheriff’s department said Sunday’s fatality “was not a deputy-involved shooting incident,” using the terminology employed when an officer has shot someone.

Violent encounters between the police and members of the public are not uncommon in the country.

A tally by the Washington Post newspaper shows more than 1,100 people have been shot dead by police nationwide in the last 12 months.

The figures are not official as police departments are not required to report incidents to the federal government.

Police and their supporters say the prevalence of guns in American society means officers have to assume people they interact with could be armed.

Firearms claim tens of thousands of lives every year in the US, a country where there are more guns than people.

Polls show a majority of Americans favour stricter gun regulations, but the powerful firearms lobby and mobilised voters supporting the country’s strong firearms culture have made congressional action difficult. — AFP