In the latest case of an unarmed Black male dying at the hands of police, the East Pittsburgh community and the country are crying out about developments surrounding a 17-year-old shot and killed Tuesday night by an officer who had been on the job only a few hours.
Police officers were reportedly responding to a call of shots fired when they pulled over the car that Antwon Rose was riding in.
He was shot three times as he “bolted” from a vehicle in which police found two guns on the floor, Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said at a press conference Wednesday. The driver of the vehicle, who is 20, was questioned by police and released Tuesday night, McDonough said. He told authorities he was giving rides for a free, according to the superintendent.
The officer had just been sworn in on Tuesday, a few hours before the incident, and was hired in mid-May, East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne told the news organization.
A crowd of about 60 people gathered outside of the police department in East Pittsburgh to protest the incident.
McDonough asked the community to be patient while the department investigates, the Post-Gazette reported.
“I understand in today’s atmosphere anytime a young man is killed there’s cause for outrage in some areas,” the superintendent said. “However, I would urge people to give us time to conduct an objective investigation, to gather facts.”
According to officials, the East Pittsburgh police officer pulled over the car because he suspected it had been involved in an exchange of gunfire a few minutes earlier. A 22-year-old man was injured in that shooting, the Post-Gazette reported.
The officer, not identified by officials, took the driver into custody and as that happened, Rose and another occupant of the vehicle ran, police said. Antwon Rose was taken to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center McKeesport, where he died.
In the video posted to social media by a witness, Antwon Rose and another person are spotted running toward a grassy area. The officer fires three shots from his gun and Rose falls.
The other occupant from the car escaped and has not been identified. Police are looking for him.
Rose’s aunt, Mica Tinsley, said the video angered her.
“They’re not even saying stop,” she told the Post-Gazette. “They just started shooting, and he fell. He didn’t make it far.”
The officer involved in the shooting is 30 and has eight years of previous policing experience in two other communities and with the University of Pittsburgh, the East Pittsburgh mayor said. He was treated at a hospital for shock, officials said.
A lawyer for the victim’s family said they are devastated.
“Antwon was very, very dear to the family,” lawyer S. Lee Merritt told the Post-Gazette. “He was a high school student with just a lot of potential. To have him taken this way set the family back.”
Merritt added, “Right now, the family is hoping the municipality itself will do the right thing, which is to treat the matter as a criminal matter and prosecute the officer involved.”