TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy who police say they shot after he pointed a gun at them during a foot chase was charged on Tuesday with aggravated assault and gun crimes.
Law enforcement officers and witnesses said the boy pointed a .22-caliber handgun at the officers when two state troopers and a Mercer County sheriff's officer began to chase him on Aug. 7 in Trenton, the attorney general's office said in a statement announcing the charges. The boy was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun, aggravated assault and possession of a defaced firearm.
Investigators said the gun was found the following morning under the tire of an emergency response vehicle near where the teen was running.
The teen, identified by a lawyer and family members as Radazz Hearns, has been released from a hospital and is recovering at home. A judge will order him to appear in court once he's medically cleared, prosecutors said.
Attorney Samuel Anyan said he expects the teen to be fully exonerated "once all the evidence gathered is brought to light." He previously said the boy was shot in the back of the legs and pelvis and faces "extensive rehabilitation."
The shooting has drawn protests in Trenton, including from first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who last week called for a federal investigation after the attorney general's office released limited information.
She said Tuesday the attorney general's office has the "sole responsibility for finding truth in this case" and she wants to make sure the Trenton community "understands, and feels like they have a voice in, a process that looks at this case without bias."
The attorney general's Shooting Response Team is continuing to investigate whether the officers were justified to use force. The probe is being conducted under new rules governing state and county police-involved shooting investigations issued by Acting Attorney General John Hoffman last month.
A statement released on behalf of one of the unidentified troopers Tuesday said that the officer's actions were "completely justified."
"Simply put, you cannot threaten law enforcement officers with a gun and not expect that something bad will happen to you," attorney Robert Ebberup and state police union president Christopher Burgos said in a statement.