Family seeks answers in police shooting of teen
A community is looking for answers regarding the shooting of a 14-year-old boy by law enforcement officers nearly two weeks ago in Trenton.
A Mercer County sheriff's officer and two New Jersey state troopers were responding to reports of gunfire near Calhoun Street on the night of Aug. 7, when they saw three men walking in the area and tried to question them.
According to officials, 14-year-old Radazz Hearns ran away when the troopers approached him. An unnamed state trooper shot at Hearns, hitting him seven times in the legs and buttocks.
On Monday, about 30 protesters gathered in front of the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General to demand more information about what led to the shooting. The group was joined by Hearn's mother and the family's attorney.
"Anytime a child is shot by law enforcement while running in the opposite direction, the community is concerned and we are here because the community is concerned," says family attorney Samuel Anyan Jr.
Hearns' mother, Slimes Jackson, says her son is now recovering from his injuries at home.
"It feels terrible to watch your son endure so much pain and you can't take it away from him," she says.
The justice department says Hearns reached for his waistband, prompting the officers to open fire. Hearn's family says he was unarmed.
Officials say a gun was found at the scene 12 hours after the shooting. Investigators have not said if the gun belonged to Hearns.
"If you don't find a weapon in the vicinity of where you encounter this child and where you find him after shooting him, then that raises questions," says Anyan. "Finding a gun 12 hours after such an event also raises questions."
The New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association released a statement Monday saying, "The actions of the trooper and Mercer County sheriff's officer involved in that shooting are completely justified. Simply put, you cannot threaten law enforcement officers with a gun and not expect that something bad will happen to you."
The Office of the New Jersey Attorney General is investigating the incident. So far, no charges have been filed against the teen.