A game of Russian roulette led to the death of a 17-year-old boy in Southern California after he shot himself in the head, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said on Monday.
Neighbors notified Donald Gordon, the security guard on duty at the time, that there was some disturbance going on in the building. They reported hearing screaming and arguing for about a minute until a gunshot was heard.
Gordon said he walked into the apartment and saw the teenager bleeding on the floor.
“He was on the ground, gasping for air, saying he really needs some help,” Gordon told NBC Los Angeles.
Police arrived to the apartment on Torrance around 4 am. Neighbors initially thought that the incident was a result of an argument or fight but police say the death was a result of a game of Russian Roulette.
“They were pleading with him not to play with the gun, not to play Russian roulette,” Sheriff's Detective Scott Hoglund told NBC Los Angeles. “The victim did not listen and proceeded to put the gun to his head and pull the trigger.”
The teenager was taken to a UCLA hospital across the street from the apartment where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
Police are now investigating from where the teen could have obtained the gun, which was a .38 Special revolver. They believe the gun was stolen.
Eight other people were inside the apartment at the time of the incident. The victim, who was identified on social media as “Jerry,” was in a bedroom with two of his cousins when he pulled out the gun to play Russian Roulette, according to a news release.
The shooting was ruled an accidental death and police are still investigating to whom the gun belonged. No charges have been filed as of yet.
Family members declined to speak on camera but they did tell NBC 4 that they did not know the boy had a gun.