Pittsburgh, PA – As demonstrators gathered for what would be the third night of protests in the city, police were reviewing video on Friday afternoon that reportedly showed 17-year-old Antwon Rose firing a gun in a drive-by shooting just minutes before he was fatally shot by a police officer on Tuesday afternoon.
Pittsburgh District Attorney Steven Zappala told WPXI that he was able to confirm video evidence had been recovered from the shooting scene in North Braddock, where a 22-year-old man had been shot in the stomach.
Police said the shooter fired nine .40-caliber rounds at the victim from a car, and the victim returned fire, striking the shooter’s vehicle multiple times, KDKA reported.
Sources told KDKA that in the surveillance video of the shooting obtained by police showed Rose was the shooter in the earlier incident. However, when asked, Allegheny County police denied the video showed that.
The incident began at about 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 on Wednesday.
Responding officers found the victim of the drive-by shooting, and he was rushed to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.
Witnesses provided investigators with a description of the suspect’s vehicle, which was then broadcasted to other responding officers.
East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael 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., Superintendent McDonough said.
“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.”
The suspect, later identified as 17-year-old Antwon Rose, was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:19 p.m.
He was shot three times in “various places on his body,” Superintendent McDonough said.
Police ultimately interviewed and released the driver. The other male who fled the scene “remains at large,” he said.
Investigators recovered two semiautomatic handguns from the floor of the vehicle. Rose did not have a gun on him when he took off on foot.
Zappala told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Rose had an empty handgun magazine in his pocket at the time he was shot.
A brief video clip of the officer-involved shooting was posted to Facebook on Tuesday.
In the video, a male in a light-colored shirt and a male in a dark-colored shirt were seen fleeing from the passenger side of the vehicle as shots rang out.
Superintendent McDonough said that investigators were reviewing the footage.
"It's important. However, it has to be taken into context in the entire investigation," he said. "It's a snapshot in time and, while important, it will be factored in the larger totality of the investigation."
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers may legally shoot fleeing suspects to apprehend them when there is probable cause that they committed a serious violent crime, such as a shooting.
Officer Rosfeld was hired onto the East Pittsburgh Police Department in mid-May, and had been patrolling the community since that time. However, he was formally sworn into the police department just a few hours before the shooting occurred, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The officer was previously a member of the University of Pittsburgh’s force for more than five years, and had worked for several years in both Oakmont and Harmar Townships.
Officer Rosfeld graduated from Penn State with a degree in criminal justice in 2010. He has been placed on administrative leave while the Allegheny County police investigate the officer-involved shooting.