STOCKTON (CBS13) — A 13-year-old boy has been arrested after police say he led officers on a car chase in Stockton.
Stockton police say, a little after 2 p.m. Wednesday, officers tried to stop a vehicle near Houston Avenue and Dry Creek Way. Exactly what prompted officers to make the stop is unclear, but the driver looked like he was going to yield – but then took off.
A short chase ended once the vehicle crashed into a fence. Officers say the driver got out and tried to run, but he was soon arrested.
Officers discovered that the driver was a 13-year-old boy. A loaded handgun was also found in the vehicle, police say.
The teenager is now facing charges of evading, hit-and-run, resisting arrest and weapon violations. He’s part of the system before he could finish school.
This is a problem community leaders and police chiefs across the state are highlighting at a time when violent crime is on the rise.
CBS13 asked John Norman, the head of a Stockton mentor program for at-risk students, is it too late for change?
“No. Honestly that 13-year-old, provided he gets the mentorship and exposure and opportunity, that 13-year-old can be a story that’s going to help change more lives,” Norman said.
Every aspect of Norman’s day involves making a child’s life better. He runs a mentorship program for high school students called Raising Youth Resilience.
He checks on them at home. He goes with them to court. He’s making sure they show up to class and don’t get suspended because that’s what it takes.
“These students, when they’re on this wrong track, they didn’t decide to be on that track,” Norman said. “They were born into it, they live in it, so it’s all they know.”
Earlier this month in Sacramento, a 9-year-old was shot dead in a drive-by while playing in a park.
Around the same time, a 17-year-old boy was shot dead. Police arrested a suspect who was the same age.
“If you’re 17 years old and you’re either being killed or killing someone, that’s really young. And think about what some of us were doing at 17, we were doing that,” said Daniel Hahn, the Sacramento police chief.
Hahn said this isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last.
“The long term solution is how do we not keep creating a constant feed of our young kids into gangs,” he said.
Norman said it takes someone who cares about what you go home to. For him, it’s never too late.
“I think it takes time, it takes dedication, it takes perseverance,” he said.
A man who grew up around violence himself lends a hand and some hope to those caught up in it right now.
“Honestly, the 13-year-old hasn’t even seen his self-actualization of himself yet. He hasn’t seen the best part of himself yet. And I would say keep working and keep thriving until you do see that,” Norman said.