Thomas TJ Siderio Wiki
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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.
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.
Mendoza gave chase, firing his gun a total of three times.
The first two shots missed the boy. After the second shot, Siderio dropped his weapon and fell to the ground.
Mendoza fired his gun a third time, hitting the boy in the back.
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 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.