Teen who fatally shot his drunk dad to protect his mother from abuse will NOT be charged, police say
Police in California has confirmed that they will not charge a 16-year-old in the fatal shooting of his father after they concluded that he acted in self-defense. It was determined that the boy, whose name has been withheld because of his juvenile status, had shot and killed his 54-year-old father, Javier Vera, to protect his mother from physical abuse.
According to a news release by the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, dispatchers received a call of an injured person inside a home on the 6800 block of W. Clinton Avenue in Fresno at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. On arrival, responding officers found Vera had been shot and later succumbed to his injuries.
The officers learned that Vera, who had allegedly been drinking at the time, and his wife had been involved in a verbal argument that escalated into a physical confrontation. It reached a point where the 54-year-old began to strangle the woman, which prompted the 16-year-old to retaliate in turn.
A short time later, the teen discharged the gun, striking his father. He then dialed 911 to report the incident to the sheriff's office, following which the murder weapon was secured, and the boy was taken into custody. Sheriff's homicide detectives who later arrived at the scene had obtained a warrant to search the premises and questioned both the mother and the son.
Speaking about the incident, the sheriff's office public information officer Tony Botti revealed to Your Central Valley that there was evidence of long-term domestic violence between the couple. He said, "[The boy was] visibly shaken up. Scary situation, your mom and dad are in this fight, next thing you know you end up taking your dad's life."
"There are people out in our community who are experiencing things… where husbands are beating up wives, or maybe even wives are being abusive to husbands. It's time to speak up," he continued.
The teen later recounted the incident to the detectives, who determined that his act of shooting his father was done only to defend his mother's life. He was subsequently released from custody and allowed to go back home with his mother. He was not placed under arrest, though the Fresno County District Attorney's Office will now review the case to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.
Members of the Crime Scene Unit have processed the home for evidence. The Coroner's Office will schedule an autopsy and work with crime scene technicians for further processing of Vera's body. Those with further information related to the case can contact Detective Gary Haslam at (559) 600-8209, Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867 or www.valleycrimestoppers.org. The department has assured that all informants will remain anonymous and that they will be eligible for a cash reward.