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A Philadelphia police officer has been charged with murder for fatally shooting an unarmed 12-year-old boy after a chase last month that began when the boy fired his own gun at the car without the officer’s identification.
Edsaul Mendoza has been charged with first degree murder for killing Thomas ‘TJ’ Siderio on March 1.
Arrested and Charged
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced first- and third-degree murder charges against former Officer Edsaul Mendoza in the shooting of Thomas “T.J.” Siderio on March 1 .
At a news conference, District Attorney Larry Krasner said a grand jury was shown video of the shooting that is not yet public, but that showed the shooting was murder and not self-defense.
Mendoza and two other police officers were in an unmarked car and were approaching Thomas and another teen when Thomas fired his 9mm weapon at his car and fled.
It is not clear if he knew they were police officers at the time.
He was later fired, but on Monday he was charged with murder.
District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the charges at a news conference in which he revealed the teen’s gun was 40 feet from where he was found.
‘Those 40 feet constituted a few parked cars and empty parking spaces. Forty feet is a long way. The truth is that Thomas Sidiero, by the time he was shot, had stopped running and was possibly giving up.
“It is certain that he was essentially face down on the sidewalk, [and] that he was in a position that approximated a kind of push-up, turning toward where the officer was pursuing him.”
‘Perhaps turning to look at the officer who was chasing him, when he was shot in the back.
“That second shot missed Thomas, but almost simultaneously with him, he stopped running and fell to the ground.
‘[Mendoza] then slowed down and changed direction… he knew Thomas had stopped.
“His approach of him to Thomas is inconsistent with him believing he was armed,” Krasner said.
Mendoza has been denied bail.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Ella Mendoza would be suspended for 30 days
In March, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Ella Mendoza would be suspended for 30 days before being fired from the department.
“Based on the evidence I reviewed, it was clear the use of force policy was violated,” Outlaw said.
Mendoza was also charged with voluntary manslaughter and other charges, according to a grand jury filing unsealed Monday.
He had been suspended from his job on March 8 with the intention of firing him.
Court records show Mendoza surrendered Sunday and was denied bail in an unusual move for former law enforcement officers facing charges.
A spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 said the union plans to provide a lawyer for the officer.
Court records showed the public defender’s office represented Mendoza at his bond hearing on Monday.
The defenders’ association did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Edsaul Mendoza Quick and Facts
- Edsaul Mendoza has been charged with the murder of 12-year-old Thomas TJ Siderio
- Mendoza shot Siderio in the back on March 1 while chasing him in Philadelphia
- He and other cops were working in plain clothes when they approached the boy in their car
- Thomas was armed and shot into the officers unmarked vehicle before fleeing
- Mendoza chased him, firing his gun a total of three times
- After the second shot, Siderio dropped his weapon and either fell or dropped to the ground
- He was in a push-up position when Mendoza fired his gun for a third time
- Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner says there is video of the incident that was shown to a grand jury and proves that Mendoza knew the boy wasn’t armed