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Reaction Mounts to Calif. Teen’s Shooting

February 8, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A 13-year-old suspected car thief was shot to death by police after he led them on a 3 1/2-mile chase and then backed into their cruiser, police said.

Friends and neighbors of Devin Brown said they could not understand why police opened fire on him early Sunday in South Los Angeles.

``I know he was wrong for stealing a car, but what I really don’t understand is the police have had so much training,″ said Carmen Dorsey, who stopped by an impromptu memorial at the site where the teen was killed. ``What happened to the rubber bullets they have? Why do they have to shoot to kill?″

A 14-year-old passenger was arrested after a foot chase, police said.

Police declined to comment, but issued statements summarizing the shooting and identifying the officers involved. Nine-year veteran Steven Garcia, 31, who fired the shots, and six-year veteran Dana Grant, 26, have been assigned to desk duty during the investigation.

The police union said officers are required to make quick decisions in the field and a delay in judgment could cost them their lives and endanger the community.

At the crash site, some placards criticized the shooting. ``LAPD ... Thank you for giving us yet another reason to dislike your services,″ one read. ``You are a cancer to the community.″

The incident happened just three days after the district attorney’s office declined to press charges against an officer who was videotaped pummeling a black suspect with a metal flashlight. Two weeks ago a jury awarded $2.4 million to two Inglewood police officers who sued after one was fired and the other suspended in connection with the videotaped beating of a black teenager during an arrest.

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