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Florida teen fatally shot after pointing air rifle at police. Outrage skipped since he was white.

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A 17-year-old Florida teen and known juvenile delinquent, Alexander King, was fatally shot Saturday in Tarpon Springs after he reportedly pointed an air-powered pellet gun that resembled a rifle at local officers.

“Police said they received several calls Saturday evening about a white male walking down N. Pinellas Avenue and pointing what appeared to be an AK-style rifle at passing vehicles,” the Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday.

“When officers arrived at the southeast corner of the intersection of N. Pinellas Avenue and Tarpon Avenue around 9:30 p.m., they spotted King on the northwest corner of the intersection. King pointed the gun at them and at several occupied cars on the road, police said,” the Times’ report continued.

The responding officers then took cover and fired 12 rounds at King, causing him to fall to the ground. He was then handcuffed, taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead at 11:05 pm.

Below is a photo of King captured before the officers opened fire:

King was a known juvenile delinquent.

“King has had 22 interactions with law enforcement — 11 with Tarpon Springs police and 11 with other Pinellas County law enforcement agencies, Young said. Two of those were felony arrests — battery on a school board employee in 2017 and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2018,” according to the Times.

He was also active on social media, where he reportedly had pictures of his gun posted on Instagram.

Watch body cam footage of his shooting in the news report below:

The officers involved in the shooting have reportedly been placed on paid leave pending an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office forensic unit also are investigating the shooting, and the outcome will be made public once investigators have completed their work,” according to the Times.

What remains unknown is why King had been pointing an air-powered pellet gun at people. John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Peter Moskos, a fierce defender of the police, suspects he was seeking “suicide by cop,” because surely he had to know that the police would respond with force. While viewed as a “toy,” pellet guns can be extremely dangerous.

“BB guns can fire at speeds of up to 550 feet per second. Pellet guns can be even more powerful with speeds approaching 1,000 feet per second. … Human skin — far thinner and softer than most animal hides — can be punctured by ammunition traveling at just 150 feet per second,” the Reiff Law Firm out of Philadelphia notes.

“Fortunately, BB ammunition loses considerable strength relative to distance, and jeans or other tough materials can be sufficient protection against penetration outside the range of about two dozen meters. Unfortunately, that says nothing about the power of BB and pellet guns used at close range,” the firm adds.

Notice how close King had been standing to the white truck in the photos above. Given the danger that King had therefore clearly posed, Moskos argued in a Twitter thread Tuesday that the officers were 100 percent “justified” in opening fire.

Look:

He also pushed back on claims that what happened to King is a rare exception versus the norm.

“I think many if not most shooting[s] are more justified … because a gun has been fired and/or somebody shot,” he wrote.

He was correct. Data shows that the vast majority of recorded police shootings involved suspects who’d also posed a threat — often a far greater threat.

In 90 percent of cases reviewed by criminal justice researchers Jon Shane and Zoë Swenson, the suspects had been “attempting to disarm an officer, drown an officer, throw an officer from a bridge or rooftop, strangle an officer, gesturing as if armed with a real weapon, keeping hands concealed despite commands and charging toward an officer with apparent intent to assault,” as reported in 2019 by the police consulting company Lexipol.

Because of the racial narrative, this fact tends to be ignored. But because King doesn’t fit into the left’s racial narrative, this time it probably won’t be ignored.

Vivek Saxena

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