A Philly cop who fatally shot a 12 year old boy will be fired, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. The commissioner made sure to note that the boy in question hit a police vehicle with gunfire before running away with the gun and subsequently being shot by the officer, but she would not comment on whether the boy was in possession of the gun when he was shot.
Outlaw said that the officer who fatally shot the boy — who has been identified by police only as “Officer #1” due to threats the officer has received — will be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, WXTF-TV reported.
The commissioner also said during a press briefing that the shooting, which took place on the evening of March 1st and killed 12 year old Thomas Siderio, violated the department’s use of force directive.
According to reporting by The Blaze:
Outlaw said four officers in plain clothes were in an unmarked car as part of an investigation related to Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act. VUFA addresses illegal gun possession.
She added that the officers saw Siderio and a 17-year-old boy on the corner of 18th Street and Barbara Street and recognized one of them as wanted for VUFA questioning.
Police said the officers approached the boys and activated the vehicle’s emergency lights when they heard gunfire and heard a bullet shatter the rear passenger window, WXTF said. Outlaw said the bullet tore through the front passenger seat’s headrest and ended up in the vehicle’s headliner.
Shattered glass injured the face and eyes of an officer in the back seat, the station added.
“The evidence collected thus far indicates that it was Thomas Siderio who discharged the firearm into the police vehicle,” Outlaw said.
Outlaw also noted that two officers then exited the police vehicle and shot once each at Siderio, who “was still in possession of the firearm when he fled on foot.”
She went on to say that while “Officer #2” took cover, “Officer #1” pursued the boy on foot and shot twice at him, hitting Siderio once in his upper right back.
Police rushed Siderio to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:29 p.m., Outlaw added.
Below is a video of Outlaw’s address to the media:
WXTF reported that Outlaw declined to directly answer if Siderio was still in possession of the gun when he was shot, citing the ongoing investigation. But the station said sources with knowledge of the investigation reported that video of the incident appears to show that the boy did not have a gun when he was shot.
Outlaw also stated during her press briefing that Siderio’s gun recovered from the scene — a Taurus 9mm semiautomatic handgun equipped with a laser sight and loaded with one round in the chamber and five rounds in the magazine — was stolen.
She noted that police questioned and released the 17 year old boy who was present at the time of the shooting.
The 17 year old’s mother spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer, telling the outlet that her son claimed that the officers did not turn on their emergency lights or identify themselves as police before any shots were fired. She also told the outlet that the boys were afraid someone in the car was about to attack them and didn’t know there were officers inside.
She also spoke with KYW-TV, telling them that Siderio was a troubled child who “had no chance in life” and lacked a father figure.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said on Monday, March 7th that investigators are still in the process of speaking to witnesses and gathering information as part of its investigation. Krasner also said that he expected “developments” in the case this week.