Police: Teen Asked To Be Shot
The Boston Herald via YellowBrix
October 12, 2010
WEYMOUTH — Police said a teenager was in stable condition yesterday after being shot by a Weymouth police officer he attacked with a large knife.
Weymouth police Captain Joseph C. Comperchio Jr. said during a news conference that officers responded to the Memorial Drive apartment at about 1 a.m. after receiving a call reporting a distraught teen armed with a knife.
Comperchio said officers repeatedly told the 16-year-old, whom he did not identify, to drop the knife, but he refused and continued to walk toward an officer.
Lieutenant Richard Fuller told reporters that witnesses said the youth shouted, “Shoot me, shoot me; I want to die,’’ before he came at the officer.
Comperchio said the officer, a man in his 30s who was also not identified, fired one shot into the youth’s right upper torso near his shoulder. No officers were hurt.
Police immediately provided medical aid to the youth, Comperchio said, and the teen was taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and then to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is expected to survive.
The kitchen knife with which police say a 16-year-old resident of 70A Memorial Drive in Weymouth attacked police.
The youth will be charged with four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and one count of armed assault with intent to murder.
It was not immediately clear when he would be arraigned. David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office, said he could not comment on the case. State law allows grand juries to indict 16-year-olds as adults for certain charges, he said, and upon conviction judges can sentence them as either juveniles or adults.
The officer who fired his weapon, a one-year veteran of the Weymouth force and an eight-year veteran of the Whitman Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a joint investigation by Weymouth police and the district attorney’s office, officials said. The investigation is standard procedure in every police shooting.
Police said yesterday’s shooting appears to have been justified.
Neighbor Tracy Foley-Wahlberg, 29, said she witnessed the shooting and the moments leading up to it.
She said that the youth, who appeared to be intoxicated and stumbling, had the knife in one hand and a phone in the other and that police told him to put down the knife. She said the youth put the knife on the back of a police cruiser but then picked it up again. She said she thought the officer had fired at least twice from a distance of 10 to 15 feet.
Police and other neighbors said the youth was 5 to 10 feet from the officer when he was shot once.
Foley-Wahlberg said that before firing, the officer said, “Put the knife down, or I’m going to shoot you,’’ and the teen replied, “That’s what I want; just shoot me.’’
Police said they were investigating whether the teen had made the 911 call.
Neighbor Cindy Alkanan, 40, said she was in her apartment when she heard the officers tell the youth to put the knife down at least a dozen times. She said that after the youth was shot, one officer said, “Oh my God, he’s just a kid.’’ Alkanan said she did not see the shooting, but later saw the teen lying on the street near a police cruiser.
Neighbors said they believe the teen lives in Boston and visits his mother at the Memorial Street apartment on weekends.
There was no answer at his mother’s apartment yesterday. Several people who pulled up briefly in a minivan declined to comment.
Police Chief Richard Grimes said the department has looked into purchasing Tasers, but officers need to be prepared to fire their weapons if necessary.
“When you’re dealing with a knife attack in a short distance, there’s no redos,’’ Grimes said.