EAST PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An investigation is underway after 17-year-old Antwon Rose was shot in the back by an East Pittsburgh police officer while Rose was running from a traffic stop.
KDKA-TV has now learned that the officer who is accused of shooting Rose, was only sworn into duty a few hours before the fatal shooting.
When a police officer shoots someone, even if they've been involved in a crime in a neighboring community as has been alleged here, Allegheny County homicide detectives step in.
"In accordance with police best practices in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings, Allegheny County Police Department homicide detectives were requested to assume the role of independent investigatory agency," said Superintendent Coleman McDonough on Wednesday.
But it's up to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala to determine whether Rose's shooting was justified or not.
"That officer has the same rights as any other citizen," said McDonough.
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Sources tell KDKA political editor Jon Delano that the East Pittsburgh officer, in his 20s, has been on duty in East Pittsburgh for just three weeks and was sworn in about 90 minutes before the actual shooting. Although, he's been an officer in the region since 2011.
He has worked in Harmarville, Oakmont, and for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department.
"What the community is reacting to right now is a horrible video showing a young man who absconded from a traffic stop and was shot in the back by a police officer," noted Beth Pittinger.
Pittinger, who is with the Pittsburgh Police Review Board, which has no jurisdiction in this case, says there are lots of unanswered questions.
"We have to have the patience to allow the Allegheny County homicide detectives to do their job," she says.
Pennsylvania law allows deadly force in an arrest only when the officer believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or others.
That's the general rule, but there is another.
Deadly force can be used when force is necessary to prevent an escape and (1) the person to be arrested has committed a forcible felony, or (2) he's attempting to escape and possesses a deadly weapon, or (3) he will endanger others if not arrested right away.
"As our investigation progresses, we will provide the District Attorney with our findings for his review," noted McDonough.
There is no word on how long that will take.
Rose's shooting was caught on video by nearby residents. He was taken to McKeesport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to police, officers initially responded to a shots fired called on Kirkpatrick Avenue in North Braddock. When they arrived, they found a 22-year-old man had been shot in the abdomen.
The shooter fired nine .40-caliber founds at the victim from a vehicle. The victim returned fire and struck the vehicle with multiple rounds.
Callers reported that a car was spotted fleeing the scene.
Police spotted what they believed was the same car on Grandview Avenue in East Pittsburgh a short time later. The car had bullet holes in the rear windows.
While an East Pittsburgh police officer was detaining the driver, two passengers ran from the car, including Rose. The officer opened fire and Rose was struck by multiple rounds.
Police found two weapons inside the vehicle, but none on Rose's person.
The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
Rose was a student in the Woodland Hills School District.
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