Pennsylvania police are under harsh scrutiny after an officer fatally shot an unarmed Black teenager in the back, causing outrage in the East Pittsburgh neighborhood in which it took place.
According to USA Today, 17-year-old Antwon Rose was fatally shot three times Tuesday night after he and another passenger fled from a car stopped by police. Allegheny County Police say they were on the hunt for the car in connection with an earlier shooting.
Cellphone footage, according to different media accounts, shows one of the officers firing his gun at Rose as he is fleeing the scene. The shots hit him in the back.
“That officer didn’t try to chase them or taze them. He just shot that boy for running,” eyewitness Debra Jones told the Associated Press. “I looked out my kitchen window and they were putting him in handcuffs. He wasn’t moving. I think that boy died right there on the side of my house.”
Another bystander, Shauny Mary, posted a short video of the incident on Facebook, confirming Jones’ witness account.
Rose was transported to a nearby hospital where he was eventually declared dead.
According to East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne, the unnamed officer involved in the shooting was a recent hire who had been sworn in just hours before the shooting. Payne emphasized that the officer, who has been placed on leave, was not a rookie, WPIX reports.
“Any loss of life is tragic, and especially the loss of life of a child,” he said in a statement. “This is a devastating situation and I am saddened for Antwon Rose and his family. “
Authorities say that they are pursuing a thorough investigation of the events.
The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle that Rose allegedly fled was taken into custody and later released, according to USA Today.
Within East Pittsburgh, about 60 people gathered in the rain Wednesday to protest the shooting, with many chanting for justice, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Already friends and family are mourning Rose’s loss: “He was an excellent student,” school superintendent Al Johnson told The New York Times. Johnson says he has already lost four students to gun violence this year alone.
"We thank the community for the generous outpouring of concern and support," he said in a statement. "The family is asking, however, that they be given space and time to mourn.“