Questions after cops shoot teen 11 times

November 23, 2009 6:08:07 PM PST
Erica Vasconcellos says she doesn't believe the police version that her 18-year-old son Deshawn, pointed a 9 millimeter semiautomatic at three plainclothes cops.It happened outside of a Far Rockaway Park Saturday night.

Police say Vasconcellos bolted to a nearby corner and ignored repeated commands to drop the gun.

Monday, crime scene investigators were back at the location where cops fired 15 times.

NYPD Commissioner, Ray Kelly, says that one officer fired 8 times, another officer 6 times, and the third officer just once.

Vasconcellos was hit 11 times, 5 on the right side including in his chest, 3 on the left side, and 3 in the midback.

Vasconcellos and two others were spotted leaving a city park in Queens at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday by four officers in an unmarked car. Vasconcellos ran and was pursued by three officers. He then turned and pointed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at them, Browne said.

"They ordered him to drop the gun, and he did not comply. Three officers fired a total of 14 shots," Browne said.

Vasconcellos, who was also carrying a boxcutter, did not fire his gun. He was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

The men with Vasconcellos, who did not flee police, have been questioned by officers. It's unclear why the men were in the park after hours.

Fatal police-involved shootings have led to protests in New York City and prosecutions of police officers. Last May, plainclothes cops killed a gun wielding off duty officer mistakenly believing he was a fleeing suspect.

No one was indicted.

In 2008, a judge acquitted three police officers in the fatal shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed man killed in a 50-shot barrage on his wedding day. Bell was killed outside a strip club on Nov. 25, 2006, as he was leaving his bachelor party. Undercover officers investigating reports of prostitution at the club said they thought one of the men in Bell's group had a gun.

Ten years ago, 22-year-old Amadou Diallo was killed when he was struck 19 times by 41 bullets fired by police officers who mistook his wallet for a gun. The officers were acquitted in the February 1999 fatal shooting of the African immigrant.

An expert from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice says the number of shots fired by police in these types of situations is irrelevant.

The Vasconcellos family spent time Monday, grieving at a makeshift memorial.

They deny that the aspiring rapper was into guns or gangs, although he did have 3 prior arrests and served 18 months behind bars for robbery and assault.


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