Report on death of Luke Lipscomb given to DA
By Steve Dreyer
The results of a sheriff’s department investigation into the death of 17-year-old Luke Lipscomb have been forwarded to the county district attorney’s office.
Investigators earlier this week confirmed they had wrapped up their review of the Nov. 4, 2011 incident, where the Poway High School student and lacrosse team member suffered a single gunshot wound to his forehead while in a Midland Road home with two friends. Lipscomb died 14 days later.
Investigators declined to reveal the contents of their report.
At the same time their work was concluding, the previously sealed medical examiner’s report was made public. The report offers no conclusions as to whether Lipscomb committed suicide or was shot by one of his companions, although it notes there was no evidence to suggest he was in a suicidal state of mind. It says the results of a toxicology screening done at the hospital came back positive for THC (marijuana).
“The manner of death is best classified as undetermined” Deputy Medical Examiner Christopher Sealwell wrote at the time.
Citing an investigative report written following the shooting, the medical examiner’s report says that Lipscomb and two friends were smoking marijuana and that “the decedent reportedly developed bizarre and violent behavior … he was found down (sic) with a gunshot wound to the head and a .22 calibre rifle on his abdomen.”
Because of the time that passed between the shooting and Lipscomb’s death, the examiner was unable to determine whether the single gunshot wound was a contact wound.
Lipscomb’s parents are calling for the prosecution by the district attorney of one or both of the teens who were in the house at the time of the incident. In an April letter to Sheriff William Gore they wrote, “We do not seek vengeance through your investigation and actions. We seek an assignment of responsibility through the law of California.
“Our son’s death, whether unintentionally caused or self-inflicted, does not have its genesis with the bullet wound to his forehead. His death was caused by what was going on in the … household before the shot was fired.”
The parents wrote that one of the teenagers in the room provided the marijuana and another the “bong” used to smoke the drug. In their view, the two friends should be facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence.
“(Their) actions cannot be ignored or erased because of their age; people their age are committing these crimes and people their age are dying,” the parents wrote.
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