Texas Police Shoot and Kill 8th-Grader Who Had a Pellet Gun

There's horrible news this week out of Texas, where Brownsville police shot and killed an 8th-grade boy who was brandishing what police mistook as a gun. In fact, 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was carrying a pellet gun that, according to police, closely resembled the real thing.

Shortly before the shooting, Gonzalez reportedly punched a fellow classmate in the nose and pulled out the pellet gun, refusing to put it down when police asked. Brownsville Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said of the incident, "we think it looks like this was a way to bring attention to himself."

Clearly Gonzalez was acting out. But what happened next has drawn widespread criticism. The police officers on the scene shot at Gonzalez -- not once, but three times, hitting the boy at least twice, including once in the back of the head. The AP:

"Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" the boy's father, Jaime Gonzalez Sr., asked The Associated Press outside the family's home Wednesday night. "Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?"

His mother, Noralva Gonzalez, showed off a photo on her phone of a beaming Jaime in his drum major uniform standing with his band instructors. Then she flipped through three close-up photos she took of bullet wounds in her son's body, including one in the back of his head.

"What happened was an injustice," she said angrily. "I know that my son wasn't perfect, but he was a great kid."

Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said the teen was pointing the weapon at officers and "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to."

The chief said his officers had every right to do what they did to protect themselves and other students even though there weren't many others in the hallway at the time.

No one else at the school was injured.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at January 5, 2012, 5:28am

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