Teen shot to death by officer
September 28, 2007 (WLS) -- A Chicago teenager was shot and killed by police on the city's Southeast Side. The CPD has ruled the shooting was justified, but the teen's family said he was not armed.
Police said Meliton Recendez, 15, pointed a handgun at an officer Thursday night in an alley behind his home. The officer then shot in self-defense, according to officials.
However, family members say Recendez, a freshman at Bowen High School, was not armed and was running from police when he was shot. According to an autopsy, the teen was shot in the back.
The shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. Thursday. According to authorities, two police officers in a squad car witnessed a teenager firing a gun. They chased him into an alley between Exchange and Commercial avenues, where they ordered the teen to stop. Instead, officials said he pointed a gun at the officers.
"They confronted him in the alley, the offender pointed a weapon at the officer. In a fear of his safety, one officer discharged, striking the offender once," said Asst. Deputy Supt. Robert Lopez, Chicago Police Dept.
Police said only one shot was fired. The bullet hit Recendez in the upper body. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center and was pronounced dead just after midnight.
"They ain't telling me nothing... The only thing they told me is that I could pick up my son's body at Cook County. I said I needed to know the detective's name that shot my son," said Elsa Cardenas, victim's mother.
The boy's uncle, Juan Cardenas, who lives next door, said the 15-year-old wasn't involved in gangs and was always doing his best to avoid trouble.
"We know he didn't have a gun. He wasn't that kind of kid. He was scared of that stuff. He didn't run like that. I don't understand what has happened," said Juan Cardenas.
A small memorial has been set up in the alley behind the teen's home. Throughout the day friends and neighbors stopped by to pay respects.
Family members say Recendez was on probation and that he ran from police because he was scared he would get in more trouble. He had just started his freshman year at Bowen High School where he wanted to play football.
"I really don't know what's going on, but we're going to get to the bottom of this," said Elsa Cardenas.
There was a second shooting in the same area Thursday night. Officials are looking into whether Recendez was involved there. A police camera stationed nearby may shed some light into that shooting.
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