A 13-year-old boy was shot dead, allegedly by one of the security guards, while he was climbing a tree to pluck a fruit inside the defence residential complex on Flag Staff House Road here on Sunday afternoon. The defence authorities, however, denied the charge, opening fire, arguing that armed guards were not stationed in the complex.

Police said the teenager, identified as Dilson, a resident of Indira Gandhi Nagar tenement on Anna Salai, had trespassed into the complex around 1.30 p.m. with two of his friends.

A guard on duty, police sources said, had fired at him, wounding Dilson in the head while his friends fled. “I intercepted the two boys running from the defence quarters who told me that Dilson was shot and was lying inside. I rushed and jumped into the complex to find Dilson bleeding profusely from the forehead. The boys and I carried him out. By then, his mother and other residents arrived. The boy was rushed to GH in an autorickshaw,” said Raja Mani, Dilson's neighbour.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa condemned the incident, terming it totally unacceptable. She demanded that the one who opened fire be handed over to the State police. Dilson, the second child of Kumar and Kalyani, had discontinued school after his father fell ill and was employed at a plastic segregation unit. Sunday being a holiday, he had gone to play with friends after lunch.

The news of the boy being shot agitated the residents of Indira Gandhi Nagar who staged a road roko outside the GH and Flag Staff House Road. Protestors on Flag Staff House Road threw stones on the police, injuring a constable in the head. Police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd.

N.K.Senthamaraikannan, Joint Commissioner of Police, North Chennai, said a case had been registered at the Fort police stationand separate enquiries by police and the Military Police are underway. However, defence authorities raised doubts about a weapon being fired on the boy. “The residents of the tenements alleged that they heard gun shots but we don't have armed guards stationed here. We are investigating the matter thoroughly,” Sasi Nair, Brigadier (Administration) told reporters.

Dilson who was brought to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital around 1.45 p.m. was attended to at the trauma care unit and then shifted to emergency ward. The victim was bleeding profusely from the head after a bullet had entered his temple, doctors added. He was put on ventilator support. Doctors said he struggled for life for several hours before he succumbed to the injury. Later, the police press release said the boy's body was handed over to his parents after post-mortem examination.

The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch-CID for investigation.