INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The father of a 15-year-old boy fatally shot by Indianapolis police who had cornered the young carjacking suspect after a pursuit said Wednesday he believes his son posed no threat to the officers.
Andre Green's father, Kenneth Green, said he questions the police account of his son's fatal shooting, including the assertion that the teen was accelerating a stolen car in a possible attempt to strike officers who had cornered him near a cul-de-sac after two passengers bailed out.
Police said Monday that three officers fired on the teen Sunday night because they feared the accelerating vehicle might strike them after it had rammed a police car moments before.
Kenneth Green told The Associated Press he believes his son was just trying to get away from police, not threaten them, as he accelerated the car, which police said had been stolen Sunday at gunpoint.
"He wasn't a threat. They said my son was armed, but I don't know about that. All I want to know is the truth, what happened to my son — if he was right or wrong," Green said while seated outside the home where his son's mother lives on a shady, tree-lined street.
"I have a lot of pain in my heart right now. I'm just looking for answers to my questions."
Police said Monday that the youth was holding a handgun when he exited the car after being shot and that the confrontation and shooting was not captured by any department cameras.
Green's shooting happened the same weekend as events marking the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Assistant Police Chief Lloyd Crowe said Wednesday he believes the two white officers and a black officer acted appropriately when they opened fire on the Indianapolis youth because they feared the accelerating car could strike them.
"I wasn't there, obviously, but I have faith that these officers relied on their training in that instance to make a decision on the reasonable use of force, the level of force to use," he said.
Crowe said it isn't known yet how many shots the officers fired, how many times Andre Green was struck, or whether a handgun found near his body was the one used to fire four shots after the car was stolen from its owner about an hour before the deadly confrontation. No one was injured in that shooting.
The three officers, who are on administrative leave, will likely be interviewed later this week or early next week by members of the department's internal affairs unit investigating the fatal shooting, Crowe said. The department's policy is to give officers involved in fatal shootings a 72-hour cooling down period and access to counseling before such interviews occur, he said.
Crowe said it's expected to take weeks for the internal affairs unit to complete its findings. That report would be forwarded to prosecutors to determine if the officers acted appropriately or if any of them could face charges, he said.
"A lot of us have questions we want answers to, but they're just not available at this point," he said. Crowe added that the three officers are emotional and shaken up by the shooting, which he called "a tragic, tragic event for everybody involved."
Green said his son, who pleaded guilty in May to juvenile charges of auto theft and criminal mischief stemming from the March theft of a car from an Indianapolis church, had some run-ins with the law but was "a wonderful son."
"Just because he had a court record doesn't make him a bad person. Plenty of people make mistakes," he said.