Long Beach police officer ID'd in fatal shooting of 19-year-old

Long Beach police officer ID'ed in fatal shooting of 19-year-old

A veteran of the Long Beach Police Department was identified Tuesday as the officer who fatally shot an unarmed 19-year-old last month while responding to a reported vandalism, authorities said.

The Long Beach Police Department said Jeffrey A. Meyer, a patrol officer with the department since 1990, opened fire at Hector Morejon in the afternoon of April 23. The department released the information in response to a public records request filed by The Times.

Meyer, who has been removed from field duties, was involved in a police shooting in March 2002, according to a Police Department spokeswoman. The circumstances of the 2002 shooting were not immediately available.

The president of the Long Beach Police Officers Assn., Steve James, opposed the decision by The Times to publish the name of the police officer involved in the shooting. 

"Do we have to publicize? Does the name mean anything?" James said. "It's a sad time for our society where we have to make a traumatic time for the officer worse."

Meyer could not be reached for comment.

The investigation into Morejon's death is ongoing. A day after the shooting, the department said that officers were called to a vacant apartment in the 1100 block of Hoffman Avenue on a report that several people were trespassing and vandalizing the residence. 

An officer, now identified as Meyer, looked into the apartment and saw Morejon standing against a wall, then turn toward him, police said.

Morejon allegedly bent his knees and extended his arm “as if pointing an object, which the officer perceived was a gun,” police said. The shooting then occurred. 

Morejon was transported to the hospital where he died. No weapons were found at the scene.

Within days of the shooting, Morejon's family issued calls through their attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident.

His mother, Lucia Morejon, heard the gunshots and went to an alley near her home to see what happened, according to the family's attorneys, R. Samuel Paz and Sonia Mercado.

Lucia Morejon saw her son lying on a stretcher in an ambulance, then saw him prop himself up and say, "Mommy, mommy, please come, please come," the attorneys said.

“The only thing replaying in [Lucia Morejon’s] head is, ‘He was talking to me. He reached out,’” Mercado said. “She feels she has a right to know what happened.”

Since January 2000, 42 people have been killed in officer-involved shootings in Long Beach, according to the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report.

 Long Beach was the 72nd most deadly neighborhood out of Los Angeles County's 270 neighborhoods, according to a Times analysis of homicide data for that period.

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