PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says an officer violated the department’s use of force directive in the shooting that left 12-year-old Thomas Siderio dead near 18th and Barbara streets last week.
That officer - who has only been identified by police as ‘Officer #1’ due to threats - will be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, Outlaw announced during a briefing Tuesday afternoon.
"I have made the decision to utilize Commissioner’s Direct Action to suspend Officer #1 with the intent to dismiss the officer at the end of 30 days due to violations of our use of force directive," Outlaw said.
Investigators say four plain-clothed officers assigned to the South Task Force were in the area in an unmarked car as part of an ongoing investigation.
Authorities have said the officers saw Siderio and a 17-year-old boy on the corner of 18th and Barbara and recognized one of them as someone wanted for questioning in another investigation.
Thomas 'TJ" Siderio, 12, died Tuesday after he was shot by police. Police say the officers opened fire after their unmarked vehicle as struck by gunfire. (Photo provided by family)
Police say the officers were approaching the boys and activated their emergency lights when they heard gunfire and a bullet shattered the rear passenger window and came to a stop in the passenger headrest. An officer in the back seat suffered injuries from the shattered glass to his face and eyes. Outlaw says the shot is believed to have been fired by Siderio.
"The evidence collected thus far that it was Thomas Siderio who discharged the firearm into the police vehicle," Outlaw said Tuesday.
Police say two officers then got out of the vehicle and discharged their firearms once each. One of those officers then took cover as the other officer –identified as Officer #1 - continued to chase Siderio on foot. Officer #1 officer fired two additional shots, striking Siderio once in the upper side of his back.
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Siderio was rushed to the hospital by police, but later died.
Outlaw declined to directly answer whether Siderio was still armed when he was shot on Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation. A stolen 9mm handgun equipped with a laser sight was recovered from the scene following the incident. Sources with knowledge of the investigation tell FOX 29 video footage of the incident appeared to show Siderio did not have a gun when he was shot.
Outlaw says investigators are certain that the officer identified as ‘Officer #1’ fired the shot that struck and killed Thomas Siderio. She added that all of the officers have still not been identified by police due to the detection of threats against those involved.
The department’s administrative aspect of the investigation will continue, Outlaw said, as will the District Attorney’s Office’s ongoing criminal investigation.
Philadelphia District Attorney Krasner said Monday investigators are still speaking to witnesses and gathering information as part of the ongoing investigation. Krasner added that he expected ‘developments’ in the case this week.