SBSO Sheriff

Protesters criticize the shooting of the teenager, who is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot. Investigators say he charged officers and was armed with hammer and a ‘sharp instrument.’

By Rick Rojas
January 20, 2014, 9:28 p.m.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s investigators said Monday that a teenage boy who was shot by a deputy in Highland had charged toward officers wielding a hammer, later telling an officer as he was given medical treatment that he wanted to die.

Sheriff’s officials declined to release the teenager’s identity because he is a minor, but family members say he is 16-year-old Joshua Alvarez, who remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Officers from the Highland Police Department, which is operated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, responded Saturday night to a call from someone saying that a family member had a weapon and that others in the home feared for their safety, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.

Family members said later that Joshua was arguing with his older brother.

When deputies arrived, officials said, Joshua was walking away from the home. The deputies told him to stop and repeatedly told him to drop the hammer and a “sharp instrument” he was carrying, according to the statement. He didn’t comply and instead moved toward the deputies. One of them opened fire, injuring the teenager.

No deputies were injured.

Joshua was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery. Another operation is scheduled Tuesday. Family members said he was shot twice, hit in the abdomen, and doctors are still working to stop his bleeding.

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