FRESNO COUNTY, CA (KFSN/CNN) – A 16-year-old boy shot and killed his father in California on Saturday after, officials say, the 54-year-old man began violently choking his mother.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene in west Fresno County to find Javier Vera shot and killed by his son, who has not been identified.
Though the teen is being questioned, he is not under arrest and not facing any charges, as detectives believe the incident may qualify as self-defense.
He may have prevented his mother from getting seriously hurt or killed, authorities said. According to detectives, an argument turned violent and the father started choking his wife.
“The dad was drinking, and he’s been known to get more violent once he has alcohol in his system,” said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. “Shortly thereafter their 16-year-old son approached them with a gun and ended up shooting the father and killing him.”
Investigators have recovered the weapon and are awaiting a search warrant to process the home for evidence. They’ll look into whether the family has a history of violence.
“Scary situation, your mom and dad are in this fight and next thing you know you end up taking your dad’s life,” Botti said. “Don’t let it get to this level, we don’t need families torn apart with people losing their lives.”
It’s a scenario sheriff’s officials say should serve as a reminder to speak up if you see signs of abuse.
Nicole Linder of the Marjaree Mason Center, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, told KFSN in Fresno that there are about 7,000 calls to law enforcement in the area every year related to such abuse.
"It affects everyone in our community and we need to stand up and take it seriously," Linder said