Was a DPS Officer's Shooting of 16-Year-Old Alexander Wilson Really Justified?
Those who have checked out the facts of the case may feel inclined to disagree with that finding.
-Report: Shooting of Alexander Wilson Justified
-Family Buries Alexander Wilson, 16-Year-Old Shot by DPS Officer
-Alexander Wilson, Killed by DPS, Used No Weapon in Past Armed Robbery
-A Teen's Shooting Death Was Avoidable, Even If the Cops Call It "Justified"
If you've followed the extensive coverage on the shooting from our colleague Weston Phippen, you already know what happened: Wilson and a friend, 18-year-old Will Brown, were driving around Phoenix in a Chevy Tahoe when a DPS officer ran the plate, and found it was stolen.
The Tahoe pulled into a gas station, and the DPS officer pulled in behind them (although he didn't activate his lights and sirens), and approached the teens with his AR-15 rifle.
From Phippen's report:
"I'm feelin' to smash," Brown remembers Wilson saying over and over, meaning he wants to get out of there.
Wilson looked over at the officer and tried to throw the car into drive. The SUV's engine revved, like the driver "could not get it into gear," the report states.
It had only been a matter of seconds, by the DPS officer's own account, from when he had jumped from his car, rifle in hand, to when he shot through the window and killed Wilson.
In the Phoenix PD report, [a witness] says he thinks the officer fired before the car had a chance to move, and that he was close enough to all of this that he could see the hole the bullet made through the driver's side window.
The Tahoe finally slipped into gear and lurched forward with Wilson's lifeless foot on the gas pedal, the passenger, Brown, bailed before it could crash into a cinderblock fence and into someone's home.
There are still not definitive answers to several key questions about the shooting, including whether the officer was standing in a position to be hit by the SUV when he shot and killed an unarmed teenager.
Based on what you do know, is there enough to call this shooting justified?
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.