WASHINGTON — The East Pittsburgh police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen just one hour into his first shift during a traffic stop last week has been charged with homicide.
Officer Michael Rosfeld, 30, was charged Wednesday morning with one count of criminal homicide, court filings show. He was released on a $250,000 unsecured bond and will remain on home electronic monitoring. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6.
Rosfeld, who is white, is accused of shooting 17-year-old Antwon Rose II three times in the back as he fled a traffic stop on the night of June 19. Rosfeld had just joined the East Pittsburgh Police Department as a part-time employee and was only one hour into his first shift when the fatal shooting occurred.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said officers made a “felony traffic stop” because the car matched the description of one involved minutes earlier in a nonfatal drive-by shooting in an adjacent town.
Witnesses said two officers approached the car with their guns drawn. McDonough said the officers ordered the 20-year-old driver to get out and put him “prone” on the ground. Rose and another male passenger also were given commands then both got out of the vehicle and ran away, McDonough said. Officer Rosfeld fired three shots, which all hit Rose, McDonough said.
The police superintend said he believes police gave a verbal order to Rose before shots were fired.
Police handcuffed and took into custody the driver, who was later released. The man reportedly told police he was working as an unlicensed cab driver when he was pulled over and police confirmed that he had done such work in the past.
Police said Rose was reportedly unarmed, although police said two semi-automatic weapons were discovered on the floor of the vehicle.
A witness videotaped the shooting and the video has gone viral on social media.
Multiple Pittsburgh news stations reported that a video showed Rose firing a gun during the first shooting, that gunshot residue was found on his hands and that a gun magazine was found on him. But McDonough said those reports were false and cautioned the media about relaying information from unverified sources.
Rosfeld’s attorney Patrick Thomassey told the Pittsburgh Gazette that his client is “very, very remorseful” and thought Rose was armed.
“He’s not remorseful because he’s been charged. He legitimately is sad that this happened,” the attorney said. “Mike kept saying, ‘I can’t believe this happened. I can’t believe that kid didn’t have a gun in his hand.’ ”
The shooting has sparked several protests and rallies in East Pittsburgh as well as other cities across the country.