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The police officer who gunned down an unarmed black teen in East Pittsburgh has now been charged with criminal homicide, reports CBS.
Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld fatally shot 17-year-old Antwon Rose II three times, once in the face, once in the elbow and again a fatal blow in the back, as he ran from a police cruiser last week.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. held a briefing this morning where he provided details about the shooting and confirmed that Rosefeld had been released earlier this morning on $250,000 bond.
Zappaala said that there is video of someone in a dark colored T-shirt in the backseat of a Chevy Cruze who sticks a handgun out the window and shoots a nonfatal shot. That person has now been identified as Zaijuan Hester.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Antwon Rose was in the care with two other young men (one may have been Hester) when they were stopped by Rosefeld. Upon exiting the vehicle, Rose raised his hands in the air and then ran. He was not armed with any weapons although a 9mm weapon that was stolen and a 40-caliber also stolen were found in the car. The District Attorney concluded that Rose being in the car does not make him party to the crime. In fact, Rose was not involved in the shooting in any way.
Instead, Zappala Jr. confirmed that Rosefeld’s shooting of Rose was both “intentional” and went against normal procedure by not waiting for backup when there were three people in the car.
“He was not acting to prevent death and serious injury,” said Zappala Jr. during the press conference. “You do not shoot someone in the back if they are not a threat to you.”
Officer Rosfeld was hired by East Pittsburgh in mid-May but only sworn in an hour before the fatal shooting.
According to reports, Rosfeld worked previously for the Harmarville and Oakmont police departments and once worked for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. He was reportedly dismissed for cause from the university.
Antwon Rose was an avid volunteer who gave his time to many causes in his area, and his death has incited a series of protests across the Pittsburgh area that drew hundreds of demonstrators, several carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs and shouting “No Justice, No Peace.”
Rose has been laid to rest but protestors have been demonstrating and calling for action.
“Antwon’s death shakes my heart, it rattles my faith that things will ever get better or that the injustice will ever end,” said Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who met Antwon when he volunteered at the Free Store, a charity she founded. “Slowly, too slowly, things will get brighter, even though they’re now so dark.”
During a taped interview on Sunday with “Good Morning America,” Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, held hands with his father, Antwon Rose Sr., as she grappled to make sense of why her unarmed child was shot three times as he ran away from a vehicle during a traffic stop. She believes that the officer who shot Antwon, “murdered my son in cold blood.”
The attorney for the Rose family, S. Lee Merritt shared the news on social media, posting, “Michael Rosfeld has been charged with Criminal Homicide in the Murder of #AntwonRose. This is a small stride toward justice but we have a very long road ahead.”
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) June 27, 2018
Merritt said the family is “cautiously optimistic about criminal charges being filed.” Their hope is that this will lead to a conviction and sentencing.