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Police Shoot, Kill 15-Year-Old After Failed Robbery Attempt

Police Shoot, Kill 15-Year-Old After Failed Robbery Attempt

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via YellowBrix

September 28, 2010

PITTSBURGH – The death of a 15-year-old boy in a shootout yesterday with two city police officers in Northview Heights was a tragedy for everyone involved, Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper said.

“Anytime a life is taken, it’s a tragedy,” Harper said. “It’s a shame the actor didn’t drop his weapon.”

The teen, who was identified by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office as Jerome Williams, was one of three young gunmen involved in a home invasion in the 700 block of Mt. Pleasant Road, Harper said. The trio might be tied to an attempted carjacking three hours earlier, he said.

The shootout occurred about 2:45 p.m. in a wooded area between Penfort and Lamar streets, about a block away from the Mt. Pleasant Road home where the break-in took place, Harper said.

The victim of the home invasion made a 911 call saying that three young men — including Williams — were inside with weapons, Harper said.

As officers were driving up, they began chasing two or three young men they saw fleeing the home.

Two uniformed officers — a nine-year veteran and a two-year veteran whom Harper would not identify — followed Williams to the edge of the woods, where they got out of their marked patrol car and ordered him to drop the .357 Magnum handgun he was carrying, the chief said.

“The officers did see his weapon. They ordered him to drop the weapon, at which time (Williams) opened fire,” Harper said.

Witnesses reported hearing at least a dozen shots. Williams fell, mortally wounded, with at least one gunshot wound in the head, the chief said.

The two policemen were not injured but were offered counseling for the emotional toll the shooting has had on them, Harper said.

The chief said city homicide detectives have interviewed witnesses who heard the officers order Williams to drop his gun.

“The proper action was taken (by the officers),” Harper said.

A resident of Penfort Street, Ernest Johnson, heard the gunshots.

“The first two shots I heard were not fired from a police revolver,” Johnson said. “I was in Vietnam. I know the different sounds. I heard in total about 12 shots. By the time I ran outside, there were other police officers running up there.”

Darlene Daniel said she and her neighbors ran into their homes when the shooting started.

“There were over 20 shots. We didn’t know where they were coming from,” Daniel said. “It was ‘pow, pow’ and then more like an automatic weapon, ‘doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot.’ Whoever it was had a lot of rounds.”

Harper said the victim of the home invasion knew Williams and one of the other gunmen from the neighborhood. A warrant was being secured for his arrest, the chief said.

Detectives are using video surveillance cameras in the neighborhood in an attempt to identify the third gunman.

“Why they chose this woman’s home, we don’t know at this time,” Harper said.

Williams and the other two young men match the descriptions of those involved in the attempted carjacking of a jitney driver that was reported at 11:50 a.m. in the 300 block of Penfort, Harper said.

Those who walk home from the Pittsburgh Northview PreK-8 school about a mile away were kept past afternoon dismissal until police said it was safe for them to go home, Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh said. Those who ride buses left at the normal time, she said.

The 15-year-old’s mother, Kisha Adams, rushed to the scene with friends after the shooting. She was too distraught to talk to reporters.

Barbara Paillett lives on Penfort Street about 50 yards from where Williams died and near the house in the 100 block of Penfort where 5-year-old Jaylon Johnson-Floyd was shot and killed Sept. 26, 2009.

“Do we feel protected up here?” asked Paillett, the mother of a young girl. “No, we don’t.”

No one has been arrested in the slaying of Johnson-Floyd, who was sleeping on a love seat when he was shot by one or two intruders who broke in through a basement door, city police said.

Johnson still shudders at the horror he witnessed that night.

“I saw the aunt come out with the kid in her arms,” Johnson said. “You can’t imagine watching a kid breath his last breath.”

Harper said Northview Heights “is not really a high-crime area.”

But, Johnson said, “we’re used to hearing gunshots up here. It’s like we live in Baghdad.”

Johnson blames the crime on young men who are seduced by the thought of making easy money by selling drugs instead of working hard for a good education.

“Lord, I hope I can make it through,” Johnson said. “I hope we can educate and help this lost generation.”

  • Nikki_033_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    and the count starts for J.JACKSON and AL SHARTPON to get here and tell us what the police did wrong!!!! good shoot guys, u did what u were trained to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pug_max600_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Someday Grasshopper you will understand. Prayers to all God's children. Sometimes a dirt nap is the only reality for "punks".

  • Gods_team_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    And the parent(s) of the little tyrant will be filing the wrongful death civil suit in 5-4-3-2-1..........

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    The officers defended themselves while performing their duty. Cut and dried. It's a shame a 15 year old kid felt it necessary to rob and attempt to kill police officers in the process. That part, I just don't get ........

  • Cp2013_-_copy__2__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Regardless of age, he got what he deserved. Prayers to the LEOs.....

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    I feel really bad for these officers, I know what it feels like to do what they had to do but I hope they can realize that they HAD to do what they had to do and that is not an easy road to take.

  • White_shirt_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    As we know a child with a gun can kill you. Glad the officers are okay. The "Big Sleep".

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I am sorry for the families loss, However, I am praying hard for the LEO who had to take the shot.

  • Ribbon_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Easy to prevent...............

  • Flowers_20_234__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I gave this a thumbs down, not because of the age of the suspect, but because of the trauma the LEO's who fired the fatal shots will endure for a long time...My prayers to the officers, who did their job, and probably prevented these animals from harming, maybe even killing, more unsuspecting home invasions/carjacking victims down the road

  • 1979_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Stupid! These hardcore criminals are getting younger and younger every year. Understand that even a pre-teen can kill you just as dead as a 25 yr old trained terrorist or an 89 yrs old female. The officers did the right thing in putting him down. How bad would this kid have become?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    Again I gotta point out the title of this article and how it is meant to pull at the liberal heart strings of the American public..

    Better title for ya next time Mr. Reporter "Supect shoots at cops, gets dead!"

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    The bad decisions made by this kid were the cause of his death, shoot at the police, expect them to shoot back. The parents have once again failed the community by not properly raising and educating him. This was a justified shoot, the officers should not feel sorry for this criminal.

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Glad no officers were hurt and hope they get the counseling they need.

  • Thinker_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Clean shoot and no sympathy 15 yoa or not. Possess a gun, commit a robbery, shoot at police, and you get shot by the police. Hope the officers do not get too much grief over this...

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