Antwon Rose, the unarmed Pittsburgh-area teenager who was shot and killed by police as he attempted to run away, was the victim of a homicide, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled. He died of a single gunshot wound to the “trunk.”
As CNN reports, Allegheny County officials on Thursday identified the officer who allegedly fired the fatal shot as Michael Rosfeld. Rosfeld had been sworn in with the East Pittsburgh Police Department literally only hours before the fatal shooting, though he had worked in law enforcement with “other departments,” in the past. He has been placed on administrative leave.
On Tuesday night, East Pittsburgh police stopped a vehicle matching a description of one that had been involved in an earlier shooting. Specifically, according to an earlier CNN report, at about 8:30 p.m. that night, someone had fired nine rounds at a 22-year-old, who returned fire. He was hit, but his injuries were minor.
Minutes later, police had pulled over a Chevy Cruz that matched the description of the earlier shooting. Officers ordered the driver and the passengers out of the car. The driver complied, while Antwon and another passenger attempted to flee. Rosfeld allegedly opened fire, striking Rose three times. Rose was unarmed, although two semiautomatic rifles were found on the floor of the vehicle.
Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a statement that Rose’s running away was no reason for his life to be taken from him.
“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.”
Similarly, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said that shooting a suspect is only justified if the officer felt that there was an “imminent threat of death,” either to the officer or someone else.
The shooting sparked protests in Pittsburgh, according to USA Today. At one point the protests shut down portions of a highway.
Meanwhile, at 3:51 p.m. Eastern Time, WTAE-TV said that Rosfeld had hired an attorney and would be speaking to investigators “soon,” according to District Attorney Stephen Zappala.
“Initially, he did not cooperate with the county police. He retained new counsel, and that attorney has reached out to several people, both at the county and my office, and they want to make a statement.”