(CN) – A mother claims Stockton, Calif., police officers escalated an incident with her emotional 17-year-old son on the anniversary of his father’s death, then shot the unarmed boy in the head in his own home. Lorraine Arellano says she called police for help calming down her son, who had become “despondent and depressed” on the anniversary of her husband’s death.
The boy, Jesse, had not committed any crime, nor was he a danger to anyone, Arellano says in her complaint in San Joaquin County Court. By the time the police arrived he had calmed down, she says, and she told the officers they were no longer needed.
But the police officers insisted on seeing her son for questioning, Arellano says.
Rather than speak to police, the boy locked himself in a bedroom and said he would kill himself if the officers did not leave, Arellano says in her wrongful death complaint.
She claims the officers then “continued to pound on the door and badger [the boy] to come out.” She says the police “overreacted” and called for backup – even though Arellano told them her son was unarmed.
In response to officers’ questions, she says, she told them there were no guns in the house, except possibly a “toy gun.”
Ignoring her pleas to leave her son alone, the officers called in a SWAT team and said that that her son was “armed and dangerous,” Arellano says.
When he stuck his head out of the bedroom window, a sniper shot him in the head, killing him, she says.
Arellano sued the City of Stockton for wrongful death, civil rights violations, negligence, fabrication and other charges.
She is represented by Mark Thiel of Stockton.