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Former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld On Trial For Antwon Rose Shooting: Day 2 Live Updates

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- More testimony occurred Wednesday as Day 2 of the trial for former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, who is accused in the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose last June, concluded at the Allegheny County Courthouse for the day.

TESTIMONY UPDATE (Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m.)

A new perspective in the shooting death of Rose was shown in court on Wednesday.

There was also testimony from a witness who said he heard what Rosfeld said after he shot Rose.

Was Rosfeld in danger when he shot a fleeing Rose? The prosecution in this case says no and they presented witnesses to try to bolster that case.

One witness quoted what he said he heard Rosfeld say in the aftermath of the shooting, questioning his own actions.

John Leach said he saw Rosfeld crying and hyperventilating, saying, "Why did I shoot? Why did I fire?"

Leach also said he saw Rose standing at the car raising an empty hand.

"He put his right hand up close to his face," Leach said. "I thought he was putting his hands up. He looked in both directions and then took off running."

Rosfeld's defense attorney, Patrick Thomassey, immediately tried to undermine the testimony, saying the view from Leach's porch was obstructed and that Leach gave a different version when he was interviewed by police.

John Leach porch
View from John Leach's porch (Photo is a trial exhibit)

"You didn't say he put his hands up," Thomassey said. "You said he made a motion with his hand."

When the defense gets the chance to present its case, it will say that Rosfeld believed that Rose was armed and a threat.

Another witness, community organizer Patrick Shattuck, testified that after the shooting, a distraught Rosfeld indicated as much.

Shattuck said that Rosfeld sat despondent in the community center after the shooting saying, "Why did he do that? Why did he do that? Why did he take that out of his pocket?

The prosecution presented exhibits that Rose's gun was under his seat and that Rose was not armed when he was shot. Police, however, recovered an empty ammunition magazine from Rose's pocket, and the defense plans to say Rosfeld thought it was a gun.

Allegheny Housing Authority officer Charles Rozzo said when he put Rosfeld in the police cruiser after the shooting, Rosfeld asked him, "Did you see the gun?"

There are some signs that the prosecution's case may be winding down and then the defense will be presenting witnesses of their own.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:

TESTIMONY UPDATE (Wednesday, March 20 at 12 p.m.)

Three more witnesses took the stand for the prosecution Wednesday morning. One of them testifying that he heard Rosfeld admit that he regretted shooting Rose.

Witness John Leach said he saw the shooting, heard it, and then he walked right up to Rose's body.

On the stand, Leach said he was standing on his front porch nearby, smoking, when the shooting happened. He said he "couldn't believe his eyes."

KDKA's Meghan Schiller Reports:


He said as soon as Rose went to turn and run, the three shots rang out. He went on to testify that he saw Rosfeld "standing on the sidewalk. He was panicking."

When the prosecutor asked, "Why do you say that?" Leach answered, "He was repeating the same thing over and over, 'I don't know why I shot him. I don't know why I fired. I don't know why I shot.'"

People audibly gasped in the courtroom after he told that to the jury.

He said more officers arrived, and started tending to Rosfeld. He said, "Rosfeld was leaning up against a wall and crying. He was about to pass out."

Also, the jury got to see a new perspective of the shooting.

Cellphone video captured by a driver, a 21-year-old University of Pittsburgh student, who is a junior and football player. He said he heard three gunshots, and saw a guy in a white t-shirt running away.

The mayor was the last witness on the stand, just before noon.

The prosecution has not yet said how many witnesses they will call before the case is turned over to defense.

GAG ORDER REQUEST (Wednesday, March 20)

Michael Rosfeld's attorney, Patrick Thomassey, has asked the judge to lift the gag order in the case.

Thomassey is not happy that Rose family attorney, Lee Merritt, spoke to the media late Tuesday. He believes that violated the gag order currently in place.

But the prosecution argued the gag order only pertains to key players in the trial.

The judge decided not to lift the gag order and said Thomassey can interpret it as he likes.

KDKA's John Delano Reports:

WITNESS TESTIMONY (Wednesday, March 20 at 10:30 a.m.)

A witness who took the stand on Wednesday morning told the court he watched then-officer Rosfeld shoot Rose.

He testified that he then walked down the street to get a closer look. He said he saw Rosfeld "panicking." He said Rosfeld kept repeating, "I don't know why I shot him. I don't know why I fired. I don't know why I shot."


New video introduced in court this morning, from another witness, shows the moments leading up to the shooting. The witness said he saw the officer behind his door with his gun drawn and said, "They were running."


DAY 2 START DELAYED (Wednesday, March 20 at 9:20 a.m.)

The start of Day 2 is running 15 minutes late so far. KDKA's Meghan Schiller reports the courthouse has reportedly upgraded the audio system and the size of the projector screen in the overflow courtroom viewing area.

ANTWON ROSE'S MOTHER (Wednesday, March 20 at 8 a.m.)

Michelle Kenney, Antwon Rose II's mother, has arrived at the courthouse for the second day of former officer Michael Rosfeld's trial. She has also released a letter this morning thanking the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office for their patience as the case proceeded, keeping her informed, and for "seeking justice for my son."

WATCH: Kenney Arrives At Courthouse --


The letter reads in part, "Throughout this process, you have both been patient, you have worked to keep me informed and you have made it your responsibility to give me peace during times of agitation. I'd like to personally thank you both for that.

"I know every mother believes their child is "exceptional" and as advocates for victims it may sound repetitious to you. However, I am not asking you to just take my word for it. Please remember what those in the community who knew Antwon had to say about him."

It goes on to say: "What makes me proudest in life is that I am, and will always be, Antwon's mom."

To read the full letter, click here.

CLICK HERE FOR A DAY 1 RECAP (Tuesday, March 19)

TUESDAY'S TESTIMONY (Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m.)

The trial wrapped up on Day 1 just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. The first eyewitness took the stand and testified that Michael Rosfeld shot automatically when the two suspects ran from the car after being pulled over by police.

Next-door-neighbor Debra Jones said the shooting unfolded in front of her and that after stopping the car, Rosfeld shot without cause when the two boys ran.

"Automatically," she said. "Three shots. Boom, boom, boom."

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:


Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Dan Fitzsimmons asked, "Did you see anything in their hands?"

Jones replied, "No, no, I did not."

Jones said she went to talk with neighbors but returned to see Rose face-down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him.

Later, Jones said she saw Rosefeld huddled with other officers. She said he was very upset and crying.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:


Jones said the two men ran from the car immediately, but defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said she initially told police the two seemed to motion with their hands.

Thomassey also questioned whether Jones had been drinking that day, noting that the police said she appeared intoxicated.

Jones said she drank after the incident.

Last to testify was the woman who took the video of the incident, Lashaun Livingston. She took the video from her balcony from 180 feet away.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan Reports:


She said she heard Rosfeld yell in an angry tone that frightened her but she couldn't hear exactly what he was saying.

B-PEP ISSUES STATEMENT ON CROWD SIZE (Tuesday, March 19 at 3 p.m.)

Tim Stevens, the CEO of B-PEP, says the courts should have anticipated the large crowd size and interest in the trial.

Stevens wrote a letter addressed to President Judge Kim Clark and Allegheny County DA Stephan Zappala complaining about the problem, saying many had waited in line for more than an hour, only to find out there was no room in the main courtroom.

ROSE FAMILY RELEASES STATEMENT (Tuesday, March 19 at 1:40 p.m.)

The family of Antwon Rose has released this statement through their attorney Fred G. Rabner:

"June 19th is a day the family of Antwon Rose II will sadly never forget -- the day a hair-triggered, overly aggressive, Officer Rosfeld, gunned their Antwon down in the back as he posed no risk whatsoever to the continuously firing Rosfeld. Within an instant, their son, brother, grandson and friend - their brightest light, Antwon - was extinguished.

"Today, Antwon's family is here seeking the justice they so deserve and to assure that the light of Antwon's memory shines forever.

"They are praying that equity and fairness will prevail in form of a conviction of the man who shot an unarmed Antwon in the back killing him. They are praying for strength and perseverance for the zealous District Attorneys who are battling to convict Rosfeld; they are praying for determination and wisdom for Judge Bicket, who will be minding the scales of Justice, assuring that this important Trial is decided on its merits, and that any and all prejudice is left outside the courthouse doors; and most of all, they are praying for the courage of the Jurors - that they be pure of heart and clear of mind in listening to and watching the undeniable objective evidence of Rosfeld's criminality in reaching their guilty verdict.

"Antwon Rose II's family and friends are braced for a Trial centered around their most painful loss, the one caused when Michael Rosfeld's service weapon left an irreparable hole in their collective souls. To them and the many watching this unfold, locally and all over the Country, a conviction of Rosfeld, would be a momentous first step towards restoring justice and give this hurting family some semblance of peace.

"The family members and supporters of Antwon Rose II know the pain of their own loss, but also have the the wisdom to understand that this battle is beyond their personal circumstance and truly about eradicating Police Brutality in American culture. They know this Trial has far reaching implications and it's integrity is relied upon by the families of the thousands upon thousands harmed or killed before Antwon was taken from them."

FIRST WITNESS ON STAND (Tuesday, March 19 at 11:25 a.m.)

The first witness to take the stand is a deputy medical examiner from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. He was called to explain where the bullets his Rose. There were audible gasps and some in the courtroom cried as the prosecution showed graphic pictures of Rose's gunshot wounds to the face, back and arm.


TRIAL MOVING AHEAD (Tuesday, March 19 at 10:22 a.m.)

Rosfeld's attorney told the court the shooting happened right outside of a senior living facility. He said Rose and the other young man he was with "could have gone into there and taken someone hostage" and "turned it into a SWAT situation." He said Rosfeld was just "protecting the community."


OPENING STATEMENTS CONCLUDE (Tuesday, March 19 at 10:22 a.m.)

Opening statements ended at 10:22 a.m. They lasted for about 45 minutes before the lawyers wrapped up to move on to testimony.

During their turn in front of the court, the defense said police officers like Rosfeld keep the public safe. Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said Rosfeld didn't wake up that morning wanting to kill anyone. Instead, he left his wife and went off to work.

Rosfeld's defense attorney also called the place [Braddock] where the drive-by shooting happened prior to Rose's death a "valley full of crime." And said, "This is the type of place Rosfeld has to patrol all the time."

The prosecutor's opening statement centered around this statement: "Just remember all that really matters is what Michael Rosefeld knew when he pulled the trigger," alluding to the fact he didn't know any specifics about the weapons in the car, what really happened in the drive-by and he didn't really know who the men were inside the car.

"What was on the line for Michael Rosfeld when he pulled the trigger?" the prosecutor asked.

People were visibly upset and sighing in the courtroom after prosecutor Dan Fitzsimmons gave his opening statement. They didn't think he had enough passion.

The defense told the court, "They can't find an expert to say what he did was wrong - because he's not." While the prosecution emphasized that Rose was running from the scene when he was shot and died within minutes.

The first witness then took the stand. A deputy medical examiner from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office explained where the bullets hit Rose.

OPENING STATEMENTS (Tuesday, March 19 at 9:20 a.m.)

Michael Rosfeld, Antwon Rose (Photos: Allegheny County Jail/STK, Embrace Life/Facebook)

The trial of ex-officer Rosfeld is now underway. Opening statements began just after 9 a.m.

HEAVY SECURITY (Tuesday, March 19 at 9 a.m.)

Since early Tuesday morning, there's been a large police presence around the Allegheny County Courthouse. Police officers have been seen in patrol cars, on foot and on bikes.

City officials also brought in salt trucks to block traffic in the perimeter around the courthouse.

Police want to make sure no protests take place, like what the area saw several times last summer.

Rose's mother has called for no protests during the trial.


(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Rose's family, including his mother Michelle Kenney. arrives at the Allegheny County Courthouse ahead of opening statements.

WATCH: Family's Arrival --

Prosecutor Dan Fitzsimmons and defense attorney Patrick Thomassey entered the building shortly before 8 a.m.

SHOW OF SUPPORT (Tuesday, March 19 at 8 a.m.)

Members of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Bend the Arc, a Jewish organization, placed handmade purple roses on trees along the sidewalks of the Allegheny County Courthouse. They were one of the many organizations showing support for Antwon Rose's family.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Scott Danka)
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

TRIAL SET TO BEGIN (Tuesday, March 19 at 7 a.m.)

(KDKA/AP) -- A white Pennsylvania police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager last year is headed to trial in a case that could put him behind bars for life.

Lawyers for 30-year-old former East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld are expected to argue that the June shooting of Antwon Rose II was justified.

The trial starts this morning and is expected to last about a week.

Rosfeld is charged with criminal homicide for shooting 17-year-old Rose in the face, elbow and back.

The jury, picked in Dauphin County last week, will hear opening statements this morning.


The fact that Rosfeld shot Rose is not in dispute; a jury must decide if it was justified. Trial lawyer Bill Difenderfer says the prosecution can make a very strong case on the basis of video alone. Cell phone video shows Rosfeld shooting Rose three times in the back.

"You're going to have jurors just with common sense going, you know, why did you have to -- you don't see any weapons, you didn't see anything. The kid was running away. You weren't in any danger, officer. You know what I mean?" Difenderfer said.

Authorities have said Rose had an empty ammunition clip in his pants when he was killed but not a weapon.

Police say Rosfeld made conflicting statements, including that he saw something in Rose's hand that Rosfeld thought was a gun.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey will argue that although Rose did not have a gun on him when he was shot, Rosfeld had reason to believe he was armed and dangerous. The defense will be hammering video taken moments before the fatal traffic stop of a drive-by shooting in which Rose was a passenger. Rose did not do the shooting, but Thomassey will argue he was a willing participant in an attempted murder.

"That's a specific intent to kill," Difenderfer said, "so if Mr. Thomassey can show that, it's compelling, very compelling."

Monday, Judge Alexander Bicket indicated he will allow all evidence related to the drive-by shooting but not evidence five hours before when Thomassey maintains that Rose was involved in an armed robbery.

The judge says he'll decide later under which statutes he will instruct the jury. Thomassey wants to restrict their consideration to first-degree murder, which would require pre-meditation, though it's more likely the jury will decide on third-degree charges, which would mean the officer acted with recklessness and malice.

The jury is being sequestered in a downtown hotel. Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and the judge has told them they'll be working long days for a week or more.

(TM and © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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