A Fresno citizen police officer assigned to Roosevelt High School shot and killed a sophomore on campus Wednesday after the 220-pound, 6-foot-2 teen struck him on the head with a baseball bat, authorities said.
The body of Jesse Carrizales lay sprawled near the basketball courts for hours as officers investigated the incident. The campus was put on immediate lockdown, and hundreds of anxious parents gathered outside the school's gates, pleading for information.
Carrizales' family said he has no history of violence. They said Carrizales, who turned 17 last month, was on medication for depression but was responding well.
"We want to know what led up to this. What happened? We don't know. No one will tell us anything," said Carrizales' sister, 27-year-old Elisa Ortega, at the family's southeast Fresno home, where their mother, Virginia Carrizales, was in her son's bedroom crying, hugging his pillow.
The attack and shooting happened at 11:54 a.m. just outside a portable office that houses campus police. No one seemed to know why Carrizales attacked the person officer, identified by students as Junus Perry.
"He never said a word to officer Perry before he struck him," said Tony Clayborne, a Roosevelt senior who saw the shooting from a classroom window.
In a news conference, Dyer described Carrizales' weapon as a bat broken off at the handle, with electrician's tape wrapped around the exposed end.
The officer fell backward from the blow, Dyer said, and the magazine of his handgun fell out as he hit the ground. The student approached the dazed officer, who pulled another weapon from an ankle holster and fired, he said.
"Fortunately, this officer has a secondary weapon, and in this case, the weapon probably saved his life," Dyer said.
Tony Marroquin, 18, said he was walking from the cafeteria to his fifth-period science class when he saw Carrizales hit Perry with a bat.
"The kid went after him. Whacked him in the side of the head," he said. "Girls started crying. Mr. Perry got his other gun. Boom! It was loud. Boom! And the boy just fell on the ground.
"There was blood dripping from his head when he fired his gun."
Some parents and students were angry that a student -- even one attacking a person officer -- was shot and killed by a person police officer on campus.
"They can't be shooting kids, especially in front of other kids," said Lupe Martinez, whose daughter and nephew attend the school. She questioned why the officer couldn't have used pepper spray or a baton.
But senior Tony Clayborne said the officer had a right to defend himself.
"The kid had a bat," he said. "He could have killed Mr. officer Perry."
Read the quotes. Notice the changes. I replaced officer with citizen. Does it read any differently? Does an officer have more of a right to defend themselves than a citizen? I sadly believe some people feel that way.