East Pittsburgh, PA – A 17-year-old male was fatally shot by police on Tuesday night after he attempted to flee from a vehicle that was allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting just moments before (video below).
The incident began at 8:27 p.m., when police received “multiple calls” of shots fired in the borough of North Braddock, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said during a press conference on Wednesday.
Responding officers discovered that a 22-year-old male had been shot in the abdomen, Superintendent McDonough explained.
The shooter had fired nine .40 caliber rounds at the unnamed victim from a passing vehicle and the victim returned fire.
The victim was rushed to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
Witnesses provided investigators with a description of the suspect’s vehicle, which was then broadcast to other responding officers.
An East Pittsburgh officer spotted the silver Chevrolet Cruze, with gunshot damage to it, traveling on Grandview Avenue and initiated a traffic stop at 8:40 p.m., Superintendent McDonough said.
“I’m very confident that that was the vehicle involved in the [earlier] shooting,” Superintendent McDonough confirmed.
The officer ordered the 20-year-old driver to exit the vehicle and lie down on the ground.
“Two other occupants of the vehicle then bolted from the vehicle on foot,” the superintendent said. “The East Pittsburgh officer fired his weapon, striking one of the fleeing suspects several times.”
The suspect, later identified as 17-year-old Antwon Rose, was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m.
He was shot three times in “various places on his body,” Superintendent McDonough said.
Police ultimately interviewed and released the driver. The other male who fled the scene “remains at large,” he said.
Investigators recovered two semiautomatic handguns from the floor of the vehicle. Rose did not have a gun on him when he took off on foot.
A brief video clip of the officer-involved shooting was posted to Facebook on Tuesday.
In the video, a male in a light-colored shirt and a male in a dark-colored shirt were seen fleeing from the passenger side of the vehicle as shots rang out.
Superintendent McDonough said that investigators were reviewing the footage.
“It’s important. However, it has to be taken into context in the entire investigation,” he said. “It’s a snapshot in time and, while important, it will be factored in the larger totality of the investigation.”
The East Pittsburgh Police Department does not have dashcam or bodycam equipment, the superintendent said.
“I understand that in today’s atmosphere, any time a young man is killed, there is cause for outrage in some areas. However, I would urge people to give us time to conduct an objective investigation to gather facts,” Superintendent McDonough implored.
“Social media is so prolific now. Some of the initial postings that came out directly after this incident were inaccurate and inflammatory, so I would urge that people in the community give us a chance to conduct an objective investigation, and I guarantee that’s what they’ll get from the Allegheny County police,” he added.
The East Pittsburgh police officer has been placed on administrative leave by his department while the investigation continues, Superintendent McDonough said.
East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne said that the officer involved in the fatal shooting had been sworn into the department just hours before the incident occurred, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The unnamed officer is approximately 30 years old and had served other departments for a total of about eight years, Payne said.
On Wednesday, a crowd of approximately 60 protesters gathered outside the East Pittsburgh Police Department, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Rose’s family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, declared the shooting as “unjustifiable,” and asserted that Rose “did not present a danger to law enforcement officers or to the public.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers may legally shoot fleeing suspects to apprehend them when there is probable cause that they committed a serious violent crime, such as a shooting.
You can watch cell phone footage of the officer-involved shooting in the video below: