Officer kills Fresno student
A Fresno high school sophomore was shot dead by a campus police officer Wednesday after he struck the officer in the head with a bat inside the school, Fresno police said.
The officer fired on the 17-year-old boy at least once as he struggled to regain his footing after being knocked to the ground, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters at an afternoon news conference.
Officers tried to revive the student but he died at the scene, Dyer said. Police did not identify the teenager because he was a minor. Dyer said investigators were looking into the possibility that a second shot was fired, but weren’t been able to verify it.
Investigators are interviewing five students who witnessed the shooting, police said.
Authorities did not identify the officer except to say that he was a 10-year veteran of the department who had been stationed at Roosevelt High School for three years. Several students identified him to the Fresno Bee as Junus Perry, 38. The officer was taken to Community Regional Medical Center for treatment of a 2-inch gash to the head, Dyer said.
“There was a great deal of blood loss,” Dyer said.
The officer was released from the hospital with stitches to close the wound, police said. He will be on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Roosevelt High School, in southeast Fresno, is one of eight public high schools in the city of 450,000. District records show that Roosevelt’s academic performance lags well behind state averages.
Most of the 2,700 students were in class when the incident began shortly before noon, Dyer said.
The officer was struck with the bat as he walked out of his office and fell backward in a daze, Dyer said.
As the officer tried to draw his firearm, the weapon’s magazine clattered to the floor, Dyer said.
The student with the bat approached the officer again, the chief said, prompting the officer to reach for a second firearm attached to his ankle.
Dyer said the campus officer had never talked to the student before the confrontation and the officer didn’t know what sparked his attack.
He is employed by the Police Department but works full time at the high school.
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound sophomore had been at Roosevelt since January, he said.
Ruth Quinto, acting superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District, said teachers were asked to keep students in classrooms until police could sweep the campus for other attackers.
When it became clear that it was an isolated incident, parents were permitted to pick up their children at the school, Quinto said. She reassured parents that the campus had remained secure.
“Our students were safe in their classrooms,” she said at the news conference.