Tulare police officer on paid leave after shooting teenager

TULARE, Calif.

The officer-involved shooting happened in an alley near Kern and D Street, the same alley where another teen was murdered three weeks ago.

The teenager shown handcuffed in a cellphone video had just been shot twice by the same officer putting on the cuffs, according to the camera operator. He'd stepped into an area where Tulare police have increased patrols for the last three weeks, since someone shot and killed James Schooley, Jr.

"Since that gang-related homicide occurred on March 15, we've seen a significant increase in activity in that area, most of it being gang-related," said Tulare police Sgt. Darron Altermatt.

Neighbors say a tribute to the 17-year-old Schooley acts like a magnet to his friends and possibly gang members. On Thursday night, Tulare resident Jamie Ramos saw a group of teens walking toward the memorial, then saw cops rushing toward the teens.

"At first, I hear two shots, back to back, then I go out along with all the other neighbors and we saw a bunch of chaos and a bunch of young gentlemen arguing with the police," said Ramos.

"During the investigation, a 16-year-old male from Tulare was in possession of a handgun, which resulted in an officer-involved shooting where the 16-year-old received a gunshot injury," said Altermatt.

Police didn't say if the 16-year-old was actually holding a weapon. His friends and family say he'll survive the shooting, unlike his friend Schooley. Those friends had their own run-ins with police a day later in the same alleyway. And even neighbors who told Action News that police overreacted on Thursday welcomed the protection on Friday.

"We're kind of afraid. You know, we got kids around here, and we just want the violence to basically stop," said Ramos.

The Tulare County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether the officer's shooting was justified. Meanwhile, police say they'll make sure everyone knows they're watching this area where one tragedy started a downward spiral.

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