Death of Unarmed Teen Killed by an East Pittsburgh Police Officer Ruled a Homicide

17 year old Antwon Rose was killed in an officer involved shooting.

The unarmed 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh earlier this week died of a gunshot wound to the “trunk,” the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday.

The manner of Antwon Rose’s death was listed as homicide.

The medical examiner’s brief report did not specify in what side of the “trunk” Antwon was shot. Witnesses said the African-American teen was fleeing police when he was struck by bullets.

The officer who fired the fatal shots was identified by Allegheny County officials on Thursday as Michael Rosfeld, according to an email from the county’s director of communications, Amie Downs. CNN has attempted to reach Rosfeld numerous times, but has not been successful.

The officer — who had just been sworn in on the East Pittsburgh police force a few hours before the shooting — has been placed on administrative leave, police said. He had worked with other local departments for seven years, CNN affiliate WPXI reported.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said on Wednesday that the officer had not been interviewed.

Asked if the officer is white, McDonough said, “I don’t understand what that has to do with the situation.”

What happened?

Antwon, who lived in nearby Rankin, had been a passenger in a car that was stopped by police Tuesday evening because it matched the description of a car that was involved in an earlier shooting, Allegheny County police said.
The officer ordered the driver out of the car and onto the ground, police said. Antwon and another passenger “bolted” from the vehicle, and the East Pittsburgh officer opened fire, striking Antwon, Allegheny County police said.

The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was later released, police said. Authorities are still searching for the other passenger.

Antwon was unarmed, McDonough told reporters. Two semiautomatic firearms were recovered from the floor of the vehicle, he said.

The East Pittsburgh officer fired three times, hitting Antwon three times in various parts of his body, McDonough said.

The police superintendent said he was “very confident” the car carrying Antwon was the one involved in the shooting, pointing to “ballistic damage to the rear window.”

Based on witness statements, McDonough said, he believes officers gave Antwon verbal commands, but he didn’t know the specific command.

Teen’s death prompts protests

Protesters on Wednesday converged on East Pittsburgh, the borough southeast of Pittsburgh where the shooting occurred.

Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said Thursday it appears the East Pittsburgh officer “disregarded the basic humanity of this boy.”

“Fleeing from a scene does not give law enforcement the right to indiscriminately shoot young boys or anyone. No one, especially children, should ever fear death at the hands of police. Lethal force should be an absolute last resort, not a first option,” his statement said.

In a news conference, McDonough said the shooting could be justified if the officer thought there was an imminent threat of death — to the officer or others — or if the fleeing suspect posed a threat. But, he said, the district attorney will ultimately decide if it was a justified use of force.

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