Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Anguish over police killing of boy

A photo of the pellet handgun 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was holding at the time he was shot by police at his school in Texas (AP)
A photo of the pellet handgun 15-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was holding at the time he was shot by police at his school in Texas (AP)
Police officers stand outside Cummings Middle School in Brownsville, Texas, where officers shot and killed a 15-year-old boy (AP)

The distraught parents of a 15-year-old American boy shot dead at his school after he brandished a gun and pointed it at police are demanding answers from authorities.

Two officers fired three shots at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville, Texas, hitting Jaime Gonzalez at least twice, police said.

But the weapon wielded by the teenager turned out to be a pellet gun that closely resembled the real thing.

The boy "had plenty of opportunities to lower the gun and listen to the officers' orders, and he didn't want to", Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said.

Shortly before the confrontation, Gonzalez had walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose for no apparent reason. Police did not know why he pulled out the weapon and speculated he had done so for attention.

Gonzalez did not threaten pupils or teachers, and no-one else was hurt.

His father, also called Jaime, said he had no idea where his son obtained the gun or why he brought it to school. "We wouldn't give him a gift like that," he said from the family's home, where other relatives and friends of his son were gathering.

Both he and his wife Noralva questioned why police repeatedly shot at their son, and called the shooting unjustified. "Why was so much excess force used on a minor?" he said. "Three shots. Why not one that would bring him down?"

His wife, who demanded that the officers be punished, added: "What happened was an injustice."

Mr Rodriguez said his officers "took the necessary action to protect themselves and the other kids".

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