PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - According to court records, a charge of criminal homicide has been filed against East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. on June 19.
The shooting happened when Rosfeld pulled over a vehicle matching the description of one seen leaving the scene of a drive-by shooting minutes before in North Braddock.
With the vehicle stopped, Rosfeld exited his cruiser, drew his weapon and ordered the driver out and to the ground. The driver complied and as Rosfeld turned his attention to the passengers in the vehicle, the person in the front seat got out.
Rosfeld said that person turned his hand toward him and he observed something dark, which he perceived to be a gun. Rosfeld said he took cover behind his cruiser to obtain a better view and fired his weapon. At the same time, the second passenger fled from the vehicle.
- Read The Entire Michael Rosfeld Criminal Complaint Here
- Read The Entire Zaijuan Hester Criminal Complaint Here
Police had Rosfeld go through the timeline of events once more. This time, Rosfeld said he did not see a gun when the front seat passenger got out and ran.
Officers confronted Rosfeld about the inconsistency in his report and he stated he did see something in the passenger's hand, but was not sure what it was. He also stated that he was not sure if the passenger with his arm pointed in his direction was still pointing at him when he fired his weapon.
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According to District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Rose can be seen on witness video showing his hands before fleeing. No weapon was found on his person.
"Based on that evidence, I find that Rosfeld's actions were intentional and they certainly brought about the result he was looking to accomplish. He was not acting to prevent death or serious bodily injury. It is my position that he is not entitled to a justification charge to a jury as a defense. In as much as under Pennsylvania law, if you are effectuating an arrest, you have to show the person being arrested has committed a forcible felony. As I've said already, Antwon Rose didn't do anything in North Braddock other than be in that vehicle and you have to possess a weapon. Neither of those young men were in possession of a weapon. Or, you have to otherwise indicate that somebody is in a position to take human life and that is not the case here," Zappala said.
Amy Wadas' Report:
The criminal complaint says the shooter in the North Braddock drive-by was in the back seat of the vehicle. That person has been identified as 17-year-old Zaijuan Hester, who is facing several charges, including attempted criminal homicide.
Rose was in the front seat of the jitney and his window remained closed.
"[Hester] is the shooter in North Braddock. By all accounts, Mr. Rose never did anything in furtherance of any crimes in North Braddock," Zappala said.
Marty Griffin's Report:
On Friday, based on information given to us by sources, KDKA reported that Antwon Rose fired a gun in the shooting in North Braddock, prior to being shot by East Pittsburgh officer Michael Rosfeld.
In light of District Attorney Stephen Zappala's findings revealed today, our sources proved to be incorrect and we regret the error.
Raw Video: North Braddock Drive-By Shooting:
According to attorney Pat Thomassey, Rosfeld turned himself in Wednesday morning and is out on $250,000 unsecured bond. Zappala said he objected to Rosfeld being released.
He has since been ordered to wear an ankle monitor and placed on house arrest until trial.
Thomassey said he doesn't believe that this is a murder case.
"Reading the affidavit of probable cause, which is the facts that the police write to support the arrest warrant, quite frankly, I don't see it as a murder case at all," Thomassey said.
According to sources, Rosfeld had only been on duty in East Pittsburgh for three weeks, and he was formally sworn in about 90 minutes before the fatal shooting. Rosfeld had been working as a police officer in the region since 2011.
He had previously worked in Harmarville and Oakmont. He also worked for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department and was reportedly dismissed for cause from the university. Pitt turned his personnel file over to county investigators as part of the investigation.
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