East Pittsburgh Officer Charged In Shooting Death Of Antwon Rose
Pittsburgh, PA – An East Pittsburgh police officer has been charged with criminal homicide in the June 19 death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, who attempted to flee from a vehicle that was allegedly involved in a drive-by shooting just moments before.
Officer Michael Rosfeld, 30, turned himself in to police on Wednesday morning and was released on $250,000 bond, his attorney, Pat Thomassey told KDKA.
Allegheny County detectives who investigated the officer-involved shooting detailed their investigation in an eight-page criminal complaint, and wrote that at least two witnesses said Rose had nothing in his hand when he ran from the car, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Detectives said Officer Rosfeld’s account of the incident was unclear, and that his story had changed since the initial telling.
"(Rosfeld) said this person turned his hand toward (Rosfeld) and he, (Rosfeld), saw something dark that he perceived as a gun," detectives wrote in the complaint. "This observation caused him to step from behind the cover of his car door to acquire a better view. He then fired his weapon."
But then details were changed the second time detectives asked Officer Rosfeld for the sequence of events, the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review reported.
"During that rendition, Rosfeld told the detectives that he did not see a gun when the passenger emerged and ran," the complaint read.
The second time around, Officer Rosfeld told detectives he’d seen something in the Rose’s hand but wasn’t sure what it was, and said he "was not certain if the individual who had his arm pointed at him was still pointing at him when he fired the shots," according to the complaint.
Rose was struck in the right side of his face, in his right elbow and in the middle of his back, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The criminal complaint said the wound to the back was fatal.
The incident began at 8:27 p.m. on June 19, when police received “multiple calls” of shots fired in the borough of North Braddock, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said during a press conference the day following the shooting.
Responding officers discovered that a 22-year-old male had been shot in the abdomen, Superintendent McDonough explained.
Witnesses provided investigators with a description of the suspect’s vehicle, which was then broadcast to other responding officers.
Officer Rosfeld spotted the silver Chevrolet Cruze, with gunshot damage to it, traveling on Grandview Avenue and initiated a traffic stop at 8:40 p.m.
“I’m very confident that that was the vehicle involved in the [earlier] shooting,” Superintendent McDonough confirmed.
Officer Rosfeld ordered the 20-year-old driver to exit the vehicle and lie down on the ground.
“Two other occupants of the vehicle then bolted from the vehicle on foot," the superintendent said. "The East Pittsburgh officer fired his weapon, striking one of the fleeing suspects several times.”
Rose was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m.
Zaijuan Hester, 17, also fled from the traffic stop and remained at large until Tuesday, CBS News reported.
He is expected to face charges in relation to the drive-by shooting of the male in North Braddock.
Officer Rosfeld has worked as a law enforcement officer since 2011, having served in Harmar Township and Oakmont before he joined the University of Pittsburgh Police Department in October of 2012.
The university confirmed that the officer was “dismissed for cause” in January, but would not disclose details about the termination of his employment, KDKA reported.
Officer Rosfeld’s university personnel file has been turned over to authorities investigating Rose’s death.
He was hired by the East Pittsburgh Police Department three weeks prior to the fatal encounter, and was formally sworn in as a police officer just 90 minutes before the shooting occurred, CBS News reported.
Officer Rosfeld has been on paid administrative leave since the officer-involved shooting.