Prosecution expected to rest case vs. officer in teen’s death

Michelle Kenney, left, the mother of Antwon Rose II, leaves the Allegheny County Courthouse with her attorney S. Lee Merritt, right, after day two of the trial for Michael Rosfeld, a former police officer in East Pittsburgh, Pa., Wednesday, 20 March 2019. Rosfeld is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose II as he fled during a traffic stop on June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH – Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case Thursday against a white former police officer charged with murder fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, the trial continues into a third day in Pittsburgh in the courtroom.

The first two days of testimony included convincing explanations of the witnesses and neighbors, one of them said that he heard Rosfeld in panic after the June 2018 shooting repeatedly say: “I don’t know why I shot him. I don’t know why I fired.”

Rosfeld fired three bullets into 17-year-old Antwon Rose II in June after pulling over an illegal taxi suspected to have been used in a drive-by shooting minutes earlier. Rose was a front seat passenger in the cab, and was shot as he fled.

John Leach, who lives near the site of the shooting, said Wednesday he was on his porch when Rosfeld fired three bullets in the bull’s-eye.

Leach said he saw other officers to comfort Rosfeld if he was bent on hyperventilating.

Rosfeld’s lawyer said the officer was justified in the shooting and did nothing wrong.

After the prosecution rests it case, the defense is expected to be an expert witness on the use of deadly force.

In his opening statements earlier this week, attorney Patrick Thomassey described in the area where the shooting happened as a high-crime area.

“You have to make, as a police officer, a split-second decision. You hesitate, you die,” he told the jury. He said Rosfeld was “a police officer who did his duty.”

The police said Rosfeld changed his story about whether he saw or believed a gun was in Rose’s hands. The authorities said two guns were found in the car, one with Rose’s DNA, but it seems not to have been dismissed. An empty magazine was found in Rose’s bag.

Witness Patrick Shattuck said on Wednesday he stood outside a senior center when Rosfeld drawn about the illegal taxi at the front of the building. About five minutes after the shooting, Shattuck said Rosfeld to enter the building and said, “Why did he do that? Why he did that? Why did he, out of his pocket?”

East Pittsburgh Mayor Louis J. Payne, who was also there, he said, also heard Rosfeld say, “Why would he do that?”, but said he did not hear the comment about the pocket.

The video of the shooting recorded by a neighbor, was posted online, which led to protests in the Pittsburgh area last year.

A jury of six men and six women was selected and sequestered in a hotel for the duration of the trial, is expected to take a week or more.

Extra video, where a police car approaching and the sound of gunfire is visible, which was shown in court, taken by a college student who is in his car at a stop sign in the neighborhood.

Rose had ridden in the passenger seat of the illegal taxi when Zaijuan Hester, on the back seat, a window rolled down and shot at two men on the street.

Hester pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated assault and firearms violations for the shooting, in which a man wounded in the abdomen. The 18-year-old told a judge that he is not Rose, so did the shooting.

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