year old black in San Pablo, California robs a couple at gunpoint, shoots at his victims, steals their car, leads police on a high speed car chase into neighboring Richmond, crashes the car into a parked car, flees the car, runs up a hill away from two pursuing police officers, stops and spins around with his hand down his waistband, and the police officers shoot him dead.
Family Expresses Anger At Police During Vigil For Fatally Shot Teenager
November 17, 2009
RICHMOND, Calif.—Dozens of people attended a vigil on Monday night for an East Bay teenager who was shot and killed by San Pablo Police over the weekend while questioning why officers would fire on the unarmed 16-year-old as he fled from authorities.
Officers said the shooting was justified, coming after a carjacking, gunfire, a police pursuit and a crash. But they also revealed that 16-year old Leonard Bradley was unarmed.
Richmond police said the boys allegedly robbed a San Pablo couple at gunpoint, shot at them, and stole their Chevrolet Monte Carlo at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday near 23rd Street and Dover Avenue in San Pablo.
The carjacking victims were not hit by the gunfire.
San Pablo and Richmond police then chased the stolen car into Richmond, where it crashed into a parked vehicle in the 2600 block of Willart Drive. The officer involved shooting occurred after the crash as Bradley tried to flee the scene.
San Pablo police have put the two officers involved on paid leave—customary in these cases—while their actions are reviewed.
Nonetheless, the family of Leonard Bradley has hired an attorney. Bradley’s sister Geoffrea Morris was among those at the vigil.
“He was unarmed,” she said, “So I’m saying, if you’re running away, you are not causing any imminent danger to the police department.”
The family doesn’t dispute that Bradley was involved in the armed carjacking. It’s what happened after the suspects crashed and ran away that alarms family members. Police said Bradley was chased up a hill by two officers.
According to Lt. Mark Foisie of the San Pablo Police department, that’s when Bradley “stops and spins around with his hand down his waistband. That’s when both officers fired, independent of each other, striking the decedent.”
It turned out Bradley had no weapon, though a gun was found in the car.
Attorney John Burris believes police may have shot in panic.
“Why did they shoot him? And why they shot him doesn’t have anything to do with what he had done before for the most part. The question is, what did he do at the time?” asked Burris.
An internal investigation will examine whether the officers could reasonably believe their lives were in danger.
“You had an armed carjacking with shots fired, initially. So we know there’s weapons involved. We know they have a gun, ” sais Lt. Foisie.
This is the second time officer Frank Perino has been involved in a suspect’s death. Three years ago, after another chase of a stolen car, he shot the suspect who was allegedly going for his partner’s gun. That shooting was ruled “justified.”
Lt. Foisie said authorities have to look at every incident in its own light. “Then you step back and you look: is there a pattern?” explained Lt. Foisie.
There is no comfort for the family of Leonard Bradley. Police say he was involved in a criminal gang. Relatives described him as “impressionable” and “a follower, not a leader.”
Through tears, Bradley’s sister had a message for the police officers.
“You imagine yourself seeing your 16-year-old brother, laying down in a field, and zipped up in a body bag, and tell me how you feel,” she said.