Making a fatal mistake on Saturday night, law enforcement officers shot and killed a 17-year-old who was holding a gun and pointing it towards people and vehicles. Little did that know that the teen was just holding an air rifle.
Identifying the perpetrator as Alexander King, a 17-year-old junior at Tarpon Springs High School who had 22 previous encounters with law enforcement, the teen was pronounced dead at a hospital. And it is not clear if he fired any shots from the air-powered pellet gun he carried.
Tarpon Springs Police Chief Jeffrey Young said in a news release Monday that officers fired 12 rounds at King after he pointed the rifle at them. King’s earlier encounters with law enforcement included arrests for battery on a school board employee and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, Young said.
According to the brief, officers responded Saturday night to reports of a white male in a black T-shirt walking around a busy street pointing what appeared to be an assault-style weapon at people and cars.
Looking at the severity of the punishment as opposed to the banality of the crime, the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid leave under department policy while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other agencies investigate.