Police Officer Charged With Criminal Homicide In Death Of Pittsburgh Teen

J. Dale Shoemaker/PublicSource/via REUTERS

Dana Patterson Contributor
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An East Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr.

He was arrested and charged, with a bail set at $250,000 Wednesday, according to court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6.

“This is a small stride toward justice but we have a very long road ahead,” said Rose’s family attorney Lee Merritt in a tweet Wednesday morning.

On June 19, Michael Rosfeld shot Rose three times as he fled a car suspected in an earlier shooting. It was Rosfelds first day on the job; he was sworn in hours before the incident. Rosfeld was on administrative leave since the day of the shooting, which has sparked several days of protests in the Pittsburgh area. Hundreds of protesters gathered and even shut down a major interstate (June 22) over the fatal shooting involving a white officer and an unarmed black male.

Mourners gathered on Monday to say their last goodbyes. His funeral was at Woodland Hills Intermediate School. The funeral program included a poem the teen wrote entitled “I Am Not What You Think.” In the poem he wrote, “I see mothers bury their sons/ I want my mom to never feel that pain.”

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said he wanted to wait until after the grieving process & funeral to publicly address the investigation, according to a tweet this week.

“You don’t shoot someone in the back who is not a threat to you,” Zappala Jr. said Wednesday after the announcement.

After the press conference, here’s what we learned:

  • The shooter in N Braddock is identified to be 17- year-old Zaijuan Hester.
  • Zappala said there was no blood evidence found in the Chevy Cruze.
  • Rose died from a 9mm bullet in the back fired by Officer Michael Rosfeld.
  • Zappala said Rose didn’t fire a gun at all on the night he was killed.
  • Zappala said being in the car at the scene of N Braddock shooting doesn’t make Antwon Rose a party to a crime.
  • Zappala’s office has Rosfeld’s complete personnel file and it gave him concern.
  • There is evidence against Rosfeld that’s sports 3rd degree murder but Zappala said his office should be able to charge for murder in 1st degree.
  • The attorney of Rose’s family says the officer who shot him has a “history of abuse” and should have never been sworn in as an East Pittsburgh Officer.