Prince William Commonwealth Attorney: Deadly Force Justified in Teen Shooting

| September 19, 2017 | 0 Comments | News

Commonwealth Attorney for Prince William County, Paul Ebert, declared the shooting of a 15-year-old boy by Prince William Police Friday in Haymarket “was a justifiable shooting,” during a media conference, Tuesday morning.

Ebert said the officer fired the shot under “fear of serious bodily harm or death.”

The 911 call was made by the young man, he told reporters.

“He called the police, told them he was holding his mother hostage, that he would like for them to shoot him, or have no objections,” Ebert said.

The teen also told police he had a knife and explosives underneath his jacket.

When police arrived on the scene, they witnessed the teen hit his brother’s girlfriend over the head with a 3-foot crowbar. The girl, who was well acquainted with the family, was taken to the hospital for her injuries.

The officers gave at least five commands for the teen to drop the crowbar, as per protocol. When he continued to move towards an officer aggressively, an officer fired two shots, both of which hit him in the upper body.

When asked if the use of deathly force could have been avoided, Ebert said “I don’t think so.”

Ebert also revealed that according to the family, the boy had attempted suicide by hanging the night before.

Ebert said the teen was “distraught” and suffering from mental illness; however, he did not reveal if he had been diagnosed or what he may have suffered from.

He said the parents did not call police to report he had attempted suicide.

No explosives were found on the scene, but a knife was discovered.

“This is a tragedy for the family, whenever you have a loss of life,” said Prince William Police Chief Barry Barnard. “It’s a tragedy, and we understand that. At the same time, it’s a traumatic event for an officer who used deadly force.”

Barnard said that an officer never wants to uses deadly force, but the circumstance in this case required it. “The use of force….was within our guidelines, within our policy, but we have more work to do.”

Barnard said the police will release a fairly in depth report this afternoon.

The identification of the teen has not yet been released.

UPDATE: Police issued press release here

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