Ex-Philadelphia officer charged with murder in killing of 12-year-old
Ex-Philadelphia officer charged with murder after shooting twelve-year-old T.J. with a fatal bullet, even after the boy let go of his weapon.
The city's district attorney revealed Monday morning that a former Philadelphia police officer has been charged with murder in the March death of a 12-year-old child who "was essentially facedown on the pavement."
Edsaul Mendoza, 26, is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and another charge for shooting Thomas “T.J.” Siderio on March 1.
T.J. "likely" fired at the vehicle after officers stopped him and another boy for allegedly riding their bicycles the wrong way down a street, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D).
Three officers took cover after the shot hit the unmarked car, then Mendoza started “what can be fairly called a tactically unsound foot chase” of T.J. as another officer fired a shot at nothing, in particular, Krasner said.
According to Krasner, Mendoza shot T.J. in the back even after realizing he was no longer a threat, according to audio and video records of the incident.
“The gun was sitting on the street below the curb line nearly 40 feet away,” Krasner said. “That’s when Officer Mendoza fired the third and fatal shot. He knew the 12-year-old, 5-foot-tall, 111-pound Thomas Siderio no longer had a gun and no ability to harm him, but he fired a shot through his back nonetheless that killed him.”
Krasner said there is evidence that will be shown to the grand jury, which indicates that Mendoza knew T.J. was unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot because T.J. appeared to comply with commands to drop the gun and get on the ground, according to Krasner.
“It is certain that Thomas Siderio, when he was shot, was essentially face down on the sidewalk in a position that approximates a push-up, turning back toward where the officer was pursuing him,” Krasner said.
Mendoza's proximity to T.J., his comment about the position of the gun shortly after firing the fatal shot, and his statement about his whereabouts before the shootings all contribute to the evidence that he knew the youngster was unarmed, according to Krasner.
According to the Philadelphia Tribune, the department was ordered last year to provide officer misconduct information to the district attorney's office after it was discovered that the Fraternal Order of Police had an exclusive, private database that withheld information that could lead to convictions.