A 17-year-old boy armed with a gun holed up in an apartment in Bell Gardens for nearly 12 hours after an officer-involved shooting and was found inside by police dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a teenaged accomplice was in custody Friday.
Officers spotted two suspects they wanted to speak with around 9 a.m. Thursday, but the pair fled as they approached, and one turned and fired at least one shot toward police, Bell Gardens police said. No officers were hit.
The boy who died was identified by the coroner’s office as Andrew Cortez of Bell Gardens. It was unclear if the apartment was his home.
The initial shooting prompted a lockdown as police established a perimeter in the area of Eastern Avenue and Quinn Street.
Police said one suspect was eventually detained, but the other — the alleged shooter, later identified as Cortez — holed up inside an apartment building.
About 7:15 p.m., a SWAT team fired tear gas into the apartment and used other tactics to try to get the suspect to surrender, but were unsuccessful, according to a statement from the department.
SWAT officers entered the building about 8:45 p.m. and found the teenager “unresponsive” in a back room of the house, Bell Gardens police Chief Scott Fairfield told NBC4. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene.
NBC4 reported the teen was found in a bathtub with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The second boy is 16, the station said.
“During the investigation, officers learned that the suspect was inside a house with a female,” according to a statement from the department issued about 11 p.m. “Officers were advised that the suspect stated that he had a weapon and was going to kill himself. After hours of requests for the suspect to surrender both via the phone and loud speakers, there was no response.”
It was unclear why police initially wanted to speak to the two boys.
California law prohibits minors from possessing a handgun.