The Black Lives Matter movement has a new victim: 14-year-old Jesse Romero, who was shot and killed by police Tuesday evening after being caught writing graffiti in Los Angeles. The only problem: Romero also allegedly fired a revolver at police.
The Los Angeles Times reports on a “Justice for Jesse” vigil for Romero Wednesday, which drew support from some local residents — but also left some standing on the sidelines:
At the police station, the crowd quietly listened to speakers. The rally expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier in the evening, Vera had called on Latinos and blacks to stand together against police killings.
The marchers then made their way east on First Street, turning north on Breed Street to the place where Romero was shot.
Some residents stepped out of their single-story homes and apartments when they heard the loud chants.
Consuelo Ramos, 44, watched the crowd pass. She said she had mixed feelings about the deadly shooting.
“They say the boy was armed and that he fired first at police,” Ramos said. If he was unarmed, she said she would view the incident differently.
In presenting information about the incident to the public on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cited eyewitnesses who saw Romero firing a gun. They had not yet taken the officers’ statements or studied body camera footage, but they recovered an old, loaded revolver at the scene, the LAPD said, according to local KTLA news.
Local public radio station KPCC cited Romero’s family and neighbors. One confirmed that he was in gangs, and may have carried a gun, but said it did not matter because he was a “kid”:
Teresa Dominguez identified herself as Romero’s mother. “He was a good boy,” she said. “He didn’t do anything violent.” The family has been living in Boyle Heights for seven years. Dominguez works as a vegetable packer.
“Yeah he was in the gangs and everything but he was a good kid,” said Lourdes Miranda, who knew Romero.“He was smart, he was friendly. He did good in school. Very respectful, never disrespected anyone. Always quiet.” Whether or not he had a gun, “he was a kid,” she said, adding that a lot of kids in the area carry guns.
“Kids are dumb, they think it makes them cool or whatever,” Miranda said. But ultimately, “he didn’t deserve this.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.