Lead Story West Edition

Death of teen prompts community outrage

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Another killing of an unarmed black boy has community activists up in arms, prompting the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission to conduct an emergency town hall meeting Feb. 7 at New Congregational Missionary Baptist Church to discuss the Feb. 4 shooting that resulted in the death of Anthony Jacob Weber, 16.

Sheriff’s investigators are still looking for the gun that deputies who shot Weber said he had in his waistband just before he was shot and they say that someone in an angry crowd that surrounded Weber after the shooting may have pocketed the weapon.

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles organizer Melina Abdullah spoke after a vigil at the scene of the shooting Feb. 5.

“In addition to the horror of the killing of a 16-year-old boy, we’re already seeing the sheriff’s department and the whole law enforcement apparatus assassinate his character and terrorize and traumatize the community and his family,” Abdullah said.

“Last night they criminalized his brother, actually arrested him and took him into custody for having a breakdown because the police just killed his brother.”

The incident that led to Weber’s death began with a call to the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station around 8:14 p.m. Feb. 4 reporting a young man pointing a handgun at a motorist who was driving eastbound in the 1200 block of 107th Street in the unincorporated community of Westmont.

Deputies arriving on the scene saw a person who matched the description of the gunman and said they saw a gun in his waistband. As the deputies tried to approach Weber, he ran away and the deputies pursued him on foot.

A.J. Weber

Sometime during the foot chase, Weber allegedly turned toward the deputies and he was shot several times in the upper torso. He died at the scene.

Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner said at a press conference Feb. 5 that a witness told detectives they remembered hearing the deputies yell out, “Don’t reach for it!”

“Immediately after the shooting, the courtyard of the apartment complex was flooded with people who were trying to get to the subject and the deputies,” Bergner said. “Citizens were extremely irate while confronting the deputies regarding the shooting.”

There was a crowd of 30 to 40 people and Bergner said investigators suspect that during that time someone may have retrieved the gun from the scene.

A brief vigil was held Feb. 5 at the site of the shooting.

“My son was a good son and a great father who loved his baby,” Weber’s mother said. “He was unarmed, shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy. He didn’t and no one deserves to die that way.

“My family wants answers and [we] will continue to demand justice,” she added.

Abdullah, the Black Lives Matter organizer, talked about the trauma experienced by the entire community because of the shooting.

“The trauma goes much further [than Weber’s death],” she said. “There is no access to victim’s funds for these families. This is not a wealthy community. And a funeral is expensive.

“Where are the funds for burial, where are the funds for the therapy that everyone, I’ll say family first, but what about the whole community that experienced this trauma?”

Longtime community activist Najee Ali organized the Feb. 5 vigil and is serving as the spokesperson for the family.

“This young man was shot down and executed by deputies,” Ali said. “He was unarmed and law enforcement can only use deadly force if they fear that their lives are in imminent danger.

“That means that this man would have had to pointed a gun at him or reached for a gun. There was no gun whatsoever. So essentially he was executed.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Bergner said he hoped that whoever picked up the gun at the crime scene will turn it over to deputies.