A Pittsburgh community is reeling after an unarmed Black teen was shot three times by local police. Over 60 demonstrators took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
According to authorities, Rose, 17, was fatally shot on Tuesday after he and a second passenger fled by foot once their car was stopped in an East Pittsburgh neighborhood. Police believed the car was involved in a shooting 15 minutes prior where a 22-year-old man was injured at 8:20 p.m. Rose was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m, WTAE reports.
Police say they recovered two guns in the car, and noted the car’s back window was blown out.
The driver of the car was placed in custody but later released, while the third passengers whereabouts remain unknown.
The name of the officer who shot Rose has not been released. The officer, who is in his 30’s, was placed on administrative leave. According to WTAE, he was sworn in just hours before the shooting.
However, cell phone footage taken from a witness shows police firing at Rose as he ran away from the scene. The video was uploaded to Facebook and has further contributed to the outrage in a series of high-profile police shootings involving communities of color.
Debra Jones, whose voice can be heard in the footage, recounted watching the incident from her kitchen window in an interview with the Associated Press.
“That officer didn’t try to chase them or taze them. He just shot that boy for running,” Jones said. “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.”
During a Wednesday press conference Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough asked for the community’s patience while the county completed their investigation.
“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.”
McDonough also warned about earlier postings on social media, stating that some of the information was not factual.
An autopsy report conducted by the medical examiner has yet to be released, but McDonough did verify Rose was hit three times.
Rose’s family is working with famed civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, according to the Post-Gazette. According to Merritt, the family has not formally decided whether or not they will pursue legal action, but hopes the investigation leads to some form of justice.
“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,” said Merritt. The family believes there’s enough evidence to charge and arrest the officer and also plans to conduct an independent autopsy.
Rose, a student of the Woodland Hills School District, worked as a volunteer at the at the Free Store 15104 in Braddock each summer since 2015. The store’s owner Gisele Fetterman, wife of Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, had nothing but fond memories of Rose.
“He was just a really lovely, gentle kid,” Fetterman said in an interview with the Post-Gazette. “His mom is amazing. All the kids loved him. Just a fine person. Bubbly. Funny. Goofy. Just really special.”