Local

Officer shoots suspected burglar at Pasadena school

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Parents and students in Pasadena are reacting to the shooting of a teenage burglary suspect. An officer shot the 8th grader during a confrontation outside Miller Intermediate School.

The 14-year-old boy is hospitalized in stable condition after being transported via LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the early morning hours of Tuesday.

The Pasadena ISD police officer who shot the teen is described as distraught by investigators because they say he had no idea who he had shot.

Students at Miller Intermediate School off Fairmont Parkway near Foxmeadow are learning that one of their classmates was shot by a district police officer while allegedly burglarizing the school.

"I would have just stopped right there. I would have just froze and put my hands in the air. That's the right thing to do," said student Kent Espinoza.

"I think they should have waited to see the person; they shouldn't have shot him," said student Destiny Ayala.

It was 12:30am and pitch black outside when the officer says an alarm went off. He says he then saw a suspect dressed in black leaving one of the portable classrooms with an object in his hand. The officer says he told the suspect to stop, but the suspect refused and that's when he pulled out his gun and shot him in the chest.

"He called for backup. Before backup arrived, the suspect came out of the building, the officer confronted the suspect at that point and a single shot was fired," said Pasadena ISD Superintendent Kirk Lewis.

Investigators say it turns out the 14-year-old suspect was holding a bag and was unarmed. The officer says it was too dark for him to make out the suspect's age or what he was holding.

Reaction from students and parents is mixed.

"That kid could have died and it was like he was stealing something; it wasn't like he wasn't trying to kill somebody," said student Haley Griffin.

"What the kid did was wrong. Did he deserve to possibly lose his life over it? No, I don't think so," parent Rachel Griffin said.

One question that remains unanswered by investigators is what the teenage suspect was doing at the time of the shooting.

We're told the officer has 17 years of experience as a police officer and has been with Pasadena ISD for the past six years. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure whenever a shooting like this takes place.

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