RENO, Nev. (AP) — A knife-wielding 14-year-old shot by a campus police officer two weeks ago cut a classmate, then chased him through a crowd and advanced toward the officer before the shooting in a high school courtyard, Reno police said Wednesday.
Reno detectives have interviewed more than 100 witnesses as the lead agency in an ongoing regional investigation into the Dec. 7 officer-involved shooting, the city police department said in a statement Wednesday. "Many details of this investigation have been corroborated by witnesses and cellphone videos of the incident which were taken by students," the statement said.
The teen, who was shot once in the chest by a Washoe County School District officer, last was reported in critical but stable condition at a Reno hospital.
His lawyer, David Houston, said the special needs student had been beaten and bullied before. He said the boy brought kitchen knives from home to defend himself against another anticipated attack.
Reno police said for the first time Wednesday that the teen brought knives to Hug High School in a working-class neighborhood on the city's north side in the days leading up to the shooting "with the intent to initiate an altercation with another student."
That confrontation never materialized, but "immediately preceding the shooting," he was involved in an altercation with a different 14-year-old student, produced two knives "and caused a minor cut" to his face, the statement said.
"The injured student attempted to retreat, but the 14-year-old pursued him through a crowd of students and faculty while swinging the knives," Reno police said.
A campus officer responding to the fight gave the boy multiple commands to drop the knives, but the teen "disregarded his commands and advanced toward the officer while making challenging statements," the statement said. "The officer fired a single gunshot striking the 14-year-old and stopping the threat."
Houston, a prominent Reno defense attorney, said his office is continuing to investigate the incident. He said earlier that videos posted on social media suggested none of the students felt threatened by the teen with the knife and many appeared shocked when the officer opened fire.
"Half the student body is out there cheering them on," Houston told AP last week. "He'd been punched in the face and was running around screaming, 'Get away from me!' He was trying to extricate himself from a situation that had become like spectators in the Roman Colosseum."