NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD late Sunday afternoon was defending a rookie officer who shot and killed an armed teenager in the Bronx, after he allegedly refused to drop a gun.
Authorities have identified the deceased as Shaaliver Douse, 14.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, authorities Sunday afternoon were still trying to piece together what exactly transpired. But the NYPD said two rookie officers on foot patrol heard gunfire in the area of Cortlandt Avenue and East 151st Street in the Melrose section of the Bronx just after 3 a.m.
Police said the officers saw a male being chased by a suspect, who was carrying a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and who then tried to shoot at the other male. Police have released surveillance video of that incident.
The target, who was wearing a black shirt with yellow text, had not been identified Sunday evening.
Police said officers ordered the victim to drop the gun, and the teen did not comply. One of the officers then fired one shot, hitting the teen in the lower left jaw and killing him.
Douse was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A black semiautomatic Astra A-100 9 millimeter handgun manufactured in Spain was recovered next to Douse’s body,” said police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The officers were taken to Jacobi Hospital for tinnitus and trauma, according to police
Kelly said Sunday afternoon that the two officers involved joined the force this past January. The officer who fired the fatal shot 26 years old, he said.
A total of four shots were fired by the suspect, Kelly said.
“It is undetermined this time whether he fired at the officers or a fourth time at the unknown male who ran past the officers,” Kelly said.
As CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported, Kelly a news conference late Sunday afternoon offered his condolences to Dose’s mother, Shanise Farar. He added that police do not know why he was chasing the would-be victim and firing in the street.
“We don’t know why he was shooting,” Kelly said. “Shaaliver lives 20 blocks — no, more than that, 30 blocks – away.”
Kelly said he is not sure what the officers could have done differently, given that the suspect was firing in the streets.
“I think they did what we would expect officers of any experience level to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, a single rose was left at the scene where the shooting happened. Douse was not unfamiliar to police.
In May, he was arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with another shooting at Boston Road and Jefferson Place in the Bronx.
The NYPD released surveillance video from the shooting in May, in which a 15-year-old was wounded in the shoulder. But the Bronx District Attorney’s office later dropped the charges against Douse, saying witnesses could not positively identify him.
There was sympathy for Douse Sunday at the Bronx building where he lived with his mother.
“He was a beautiful, loving boy. He was a baby,” said a woman who identified herself as Douse’s aunt. She rejected the police version of the killing and did not believe her nephew even had a gun.
“The cops have got to stop killing our children,” she said. ‘This is a 14-year-old kid. It’s not fair.”
But other residents said they’re grateful the police were nearby when the gunfire broke out.
“They did a good job, I respect them. They’re out there because I came home Friday night late and I saw them on the corner and I feel safe. Cops are doing a good job. There’s too many guns out here,” a neighbor told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.
“The cops’ lives are at stake, so I mean, they’ve got to try to protect themselves as well,” another neighbor said. “But at the end of the day, can’t we do something to try to save a life?”
Others said they aren’t surprised by this latest violence, or the use of police force.
“The area’s bad. If you walk by yourself, somebody could jump you. A female just got jumped right down the block on Third Avenue two nights ago just for walking by herself,” a woman named Candace told WCBS 880′s Monica Miller. “Everywhere we go, the cops just pull over groups and groups of young black kids. They could’ve aimed for legs but they want to kill people.”
When a reporter asked Commissioner Kelly whether Douse could have been shot in the legs, Kelly said that is not how officers are trained and not how real life works.
“That is absolutely a myth. You can’t do that. We train all of our officers to shoot for body mass, because we shoot to stop,” he said. “That’s only in western movies that you see that.”
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