Antwon Rose
Antwon Rose was fatally shot by a police officer in East Pittsburgh when he tried to get away from a traffic stop. (Courtesy photo)

Friends and family eulogized Antwon Rose II during a private service on Monday, less than a week after a police officer gunned down the Black teenager in the borough of East Pittsburgh.

Rose’s death has sparked days of protests in East Pittsburgh, its suburbs and along major highways.

Video posted on Facebook shows, on the night of June 19, East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld shooting Antwon, 17, three times as he and another young person ran away from a car pulled over a traffic stop. The person recording the video can be heard screaming and asking why Rosfeld shot Antwon in his back.

An ambulance transported Rose to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 9:15 p.m.

The vehicle Antwon left matched the description of a car leaving the scene of an earlier shooting, according to officials. Last week, Alleghany County police officers reported the discovery of two firearms in the car. Though no weapons were found on or near Antwon, officials said they recovered an empty 9mm clip from his front pocket.

The other person who ran has not been identified and public appeals have been made for him to come forward.

“Too many kids, young African-American males are being shot,” Fred Rabner, Antwon’s family attorney told ABC News last week. “If they could just be here to tell the story, we might hear the other side.”

On Monday, Rose’s family said it’s seeking legal action against Rosfeld.

The East Pittsburgh Police Department has placed Rosfeld on administrative leave. In a press conference, Pittsburgh Mayor Louis Payne (D) revealed that Rosfeld had been sworn in as an officer less than two hours before he killed Antwon. Rosfeld previously served as a campus police officer at the University of Pittsburgh where he left under undisclosed circumstances.

Journalist Shaun King, describing an anonymous university official as his source, wrote last week that University of Pittsburgh severed ties with Rosfeld for his alleged use of excessive force against a Black student earlier this year.

Rose, an honors student described as bright and funny, would have graduated this year. He worked at a children’s gymnastics and fitness center in Pittsburgh. Rose also had a knack for written expression. In a 2016 poem that has made rounds on social media platforms, Rose laments premature death and the thought of his mother having to bury him.

Antwon’s death has sparked outrage and discussion about why Black people often run from law enforcement.

Last Wednesday and every day since, people carrying signs and chanting “No Justice, No Peace” have gathered in protest, converging on the grounds of the East Pittsburgh Police Department, rallying outside of the Alleghany County Courthouse and blocking Interstate 376, along with a bridge that serves as a main traffic artery. Along the way, activists have clashed with heavily-armed police officers.

In consideration of Antwon’s family, all activity paused on Monday.

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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