TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Authorities in Florida have determined that the fatal shooting of a teenager who pointed an air rifle at cars and responding officers was proper homicide.
An investigation found that all officers involved in the October 16 shooting of Alexander King acted within their legal duties when the 16-year-old repeatedly denied his orders to lay down his arms, Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said in a letter issued on Monday
Officers were reacting to reports that the teen was pointing a rifle at crossing cars In Tarpon Springs near St. Petersburg on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
According to Bartlett’s letter, King was carrying an airsoft rifle, which appeared to be a deadly weapon except for a “faded orange tip” that officers could not distinguish from afar, which Tarpon Springs Police Chief Jeffrey Young was told. was addressed.
The names of the two officers who shot King at the scene along with five other officers would not be released because they called for their right to remain anonymous under Florida’s Marcy Law.
According to the investigation, Raja pointed the rifle at the first officer who arrived at the scene that night. The officer took cover behind a vehicle and called for backup.
The officer said he heard Raja shouting, “Shoot me, shoot me,” the letter said.
Two of the responding officers said they were afraid the king was going to shoot them or someone else, so they shot him four times, the investigation found. After some time he was declared brought dead in the hospital.
Cellphone video taken by a witness corroborates the officers’ account, the letter said: it shows Raja pulling back the slide and charging the rifle.
The letter also details the teen’s troubled history, including several incidents involving students, staff and school resource officers.
In 2019, he was dropped from Tarpon Springs High School due to a threat assessment from the Sheriff’s Office. The report said they were seen photographing knives, guns, German soldiers and swastikas, and that their behavior seemed to have upset some students.
King was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Depression and Bipolar Disorder, and was hospitalized seven times against his will for mental health reasons. He has faced police before – while carrying a knife – and was subdued by non-lethal pepper shells.
His sister, Kelly Greenwald, apologized in a Facebook post to anyone that King might have feared, but believes she never intended to hurt anyone. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, she said she had been battling mental illness since the age of 3, a year after she was adopted.
He told investigators that on the evening of October 16, Raja was upset, and left the house threatening to kill himself, the letter said.