5 Things to know about Antwon Rose, the unarmed Black teen gunned down by East Pittsburgh police

By all accounts, he was a great kid.

In honor of Antown Rose's life and to ensure that his narrative in the media is an honest one, here are five things to know about the young man.

Antwon Rose thegrio.com
Antwon Rose

There have been rallying cries for justice in Pittsburgh since the death of Antwon Rose.

The 17-year-old was shot three times by an East Pittsburgh police officer during a traffic stop.

Authorities believed the car he was in matched the description of a vehicle that was involved in gunfire several minutes earlier. While the driver was being taken into custody, Rose and a second young man ran from the car.

The community is now demanding answers about why another unarmed Black boy is dead rather than just being taken into custody like a white suspect would.

Rose was tragically snatched away at a very young age and now the community is left with only his memories. In honor of his life and to ensure that his narrative in the media is an honest one, here are five things to know about Antwon Rose:

1. He was unarmed with his back turned to the police

Eyewitness video shows officers stopping a suspect’s car on a residential street. Two men are seen getting out of the car and running. In the next instant shots are fired. Then one person, who has his back to the officers, is seen falling to the ground after the shots were heard.

You can watch the video below which shows a birds eye view then a zoomed in version.

When the officer begins prematurely shooting at the men, the person recording the video can be heard saying, “Why are they shooting at him? … Why are they shooting? All they did was run and they’re shooting at them.”

In another video originally shared on Facebook, Rose can be seen being taken into an ambulance and receiving chest compressions from a paramedic.

A shocked bystander can be heard repeating, “They killed him yo! They killed him!”

Please be warned that the footage is graphic:

READ MORE: Study finds police killings have harmed mental health in Black communities

2. The officer had only been on the job for an hour

One of the most shocking tidbits to come forward about the officer who fatally shot Rose is that he took this young man’s life on his first day on the job.

According to KDKA-TV the cop has been identified as Michael Rosfeld, and was sworn in at a East Pittsburgh council meeting about an hour before the shooting.

Rosfeld, 30, had been hired by East Pittsburgh three weeks before the shooting and was officially sworn in at a meeting that began at 7 p.m. Tuesday. 90 minutes later he was already shooting at Antwon Rose’s fleeing back. The officer was hired to work part time for the East Pittsburgh Police Department.

Rosfeld had previously been an officer in Allegheny County since 2011, and also worked for Harmarville, Oakmont and the University of Pittsburgh police departments amongst others.

While there’s been no explanation as to why he changed departments so much, East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne told the Post-Gazette the Rosfeld was treated at the hospital for “shock” after the shooting.

His daughter, who just happens to be East Pittsburgh Police Chief Lori Fruncek, spent several hours with the officer after the incident.

3. He volunteered A LOT in his community

While media outlets often depict scared suspects as thugs and menacing figures, those who know Antwon Rose have come forward to paint a clearer picture of the young man.

He once worked at a children’s gymnastics and fitness center in Pittsburgh for a summer. The owner of the center, Kimberly Eads Ransom,wrote on Facebook about Rose’s passion and professionalism on the job. Ransom said the photo of him smiling next to a little girl, that has been circulating all over Facebook, was taken in her gym when he worked there.

“He was fantastic and I have nothing but great things to say about him,” she wrote. “He showed up in a 3 piece suit to his job interview in the middle of July heat in a gym. We loved him. The kids loved him. He was valued and we won’t forget him.”

“I am committed to just singing his praises as far as his character when I worked with him,” she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He was just an absolute dream to work with at the gym. All of the kids loved him. The parents loved him. There was just nothing more I could have asked from him.”

Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who runs several charities in the Pittsburgh area and whose husband, John Fetterman, is the mayor of Braddock, wrote on Facebook that Rose volunteered for her and worked at Freestore15104, which helps provide goods to people in need.

Duquense Mayor Nickole Nesby wrote on Facebook, “He volunteered for me as well. He prepared excel spreadsheets and scheduled for our Movies in the Park on Friday’s. My heart is broken.”

She said he recently got his license and was already thinking of ways to use it to help others. Nesby said she expected to see him last week to help plan a showing of Black Panther for local kids, but he couldn’t make it because his mother’s car was in the shop.

4. He was an excellent student

In addition to being incredibly civic minded at such a young age, superintendent Al Johnson told the New York Times that Rose, “was an excellent student,” who had been taking Advanced Placement classes.

Adding to the list of notable people in the community speaking up about how special the 17-year old was, is activist Shaun King, who posted a photo of Rose on Facebook on Wednesday.

“This is #AntwonRose,” he wrote. “Shot in the back and killed yesterday by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My friends in the city knew him and his family. We didn’t know it was Antwon who was killed until late last night. Devastating. A wonderful boy.”

The family’s attorney Lee Merritt issued the following statement:

“It is difficult to find justification in the shooting of 17-year-old rising senior high school student Antwon Rose II. From all accounts, he was a generous, hard working and highly promising student. Affirmations of his generosity and spirit and genuine goodheartedness have begun pouring in from all corners of the East Pittsburgh community where he lived.

We know very little about the circumstances surrounding his death at this early stage. We must emphasize that rumors of him being involved in a separate shooting are unsubstantiated. We know that he was not armed at the time he was shot down, that he posed no immediate threat to anyone and that, significantly, the driver of the vehicle he occupied was released from police custody. The officer involved in this shooting had just been sworn into the (East Pittsburgh PD) … (90 minutes) before this encounter. These facts, without more, simply leave very little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer. Additional information concerning the background of the offending officer and the facts available to him at the time of the shooting is needed as we determine the appropriate action in this matter.

On behalf of the family we thank the community for the generous outpouring of concern and support.”

“They’re not even saying stop,” His aunt, Mica Tinsley, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after watching the video. “They just started shooting, and he fell. He didn’t make it far.”

5. Authorities are still seeking video and tips from eye-witnesses

According to WPXI-TV, The Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit is investigating the incident and seeking tips and information from eye witnesses.

“In accordance with police best practices in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings, the Allegheny County Police Department Homicide detectives were requested to assume the role of independent investigating agency,” the department said in a statement. “The East Pittsburgh officer has been placed on administrative leave. ACPD Homicide will work closely with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office as this investigation progresses, providing his staff with investigative findings for review.”

Police added, “Anyone having information on these incidents, or video of any portion of the incidents, is asked to contact the Allegheny County Police Department. Callers to the ACPD Tip Line can remain anonymous – the number is 833.ALL.TIPS (833.255.8477). The department can also be reached via its social media sites.” In a Facebook post, the department said, “Please note that information is still being gathered regarding these incidents and is subject to change. Additional information will be provided as we are able.”

Speaking on behalf of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Reggie Shuford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he expects a “thorough, extensive and transparent investigation.”

“Based on the information that is currently available, the East Pittsburgh police officers involved in this tragic situation seem to have disregarded the basic humanity of this boy when they chose to use lethal force,” opined Shuford. “While we await more details of what happened, it appears through the cell phone video that the victim was running away from the police. Our heart breaks for the family of the victim, and we express our deepest condolences to them.”