A suburban Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with homicide for shooting and killing an unarmed black teen while investigating a drive-by shooting.
East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld was charged Wednesday and released on $250,000 unsecured bond, report TribLive, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CNN, WTAE, BuzzFeed News and NBC News. The criminal complaint defines homicide as “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently” causing the death of another.
Police say Rosfeld fired three shots on June 19 that hit 17-year-old Antwon Rose, including one shot that hit Rose in the back. Witnesses said Rose and another youth were fleeing the car when Rose was shot. One witness recorded a video that showed the car driver was lying on the ground when Rosfeld fired his gun.
Rosfeld was a rookie East Pittsburgh police officer who was officially sworn in the day of the shooting, though he had served in other departments.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said Rose, an honors student, was in the vehicle during the drive-by shooting, but he did not fire a gun. One person received a graze wound in the drive-by incident.
Rosfeld allegedly told inconsistent stories to investigators about whether he saw a gun or an object in Rose’s hand, according to a police affidavit.
A youth believed to have been in the car with Rose has been charged with attempted homicide in connection with the drive-by shooting.
Rosfeld’a lawyer, Pat Thomassey, told WTAE that, “I don’t think it’s a murder case. I don’t.”
Thomassey said that, at most, the charge should be involuntary manslaughter and he sees it “as an acquittal if everybody looks at it on the facts. … You know, this wasn’t stopping a car for going through a stop sign or for speeding. This is stopping a car that was involved in a shooting right up the road.”