PALMDALE - A boy, who was playing "cops and robbers" with a squirt gun, is hospitalized after being shot by an L.A County Sheriff's deputy.
The boy was wounded in the upper torso, said Deputy Ed Hernandez, a spokesman for the Sheriff's department.
Officials say the boy, believed to be 15-years-old, was shot around 7:55 p.m.
Sunday while he was riding his bicycle in the area of East Avenue Q11 and 20th Street East.
Deputies were responding to a burglary report when they encountered the teen.
Deputy Jeff Gordon said there were also reports that someone was riding a bicycle and brandishing a handgun in the area.
When deputies spotted the boy, they ordered him to drop the weapon but instead, Gordon says, he pointed it at the deputies.
The deputies, fearing for their lives, shot him once, Hernandez said. "Later on, they determined it was a juvenile playing cops and robbers."
The boy was airlifted to Holy Cross Medical Center for treatment in stable condition. He is expected to survive.
Officials say the gun resembled a black semiautomatic pistol and lacked the orange tip found on most toys to distinguish them from real weapons.
A neighbor said the teen is a special need student who has never caused trouble before, and said he warned the boy that his gun look a little too real.
"I warned him about the gun, it's like you don't have a red tip, you should not be waving that around," he said.
Other witnesses said the boy was among six or seven others, ages 12-to-14, riding bicycles and playing "cops and robbers."
The shooting is under investigation.
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