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Mississippi teen dies days after being shot by police

Jaheim McMillan, 15, whom police shot in the head last week, was taken off life support Saturday.

A Black teenager in Mississippi has died days after police shot him in the head outside a discount store, and his relatives are questioning officers’ actions.

Police shot Jaheim McMillan, 15, on Thursday in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store in Gulfport, the state's second-most-populous city after Jackson, which lies about 160 miles to the north.

He died shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday after he was taken off life support at USA Health University Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, said Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer, who confirmed the death to the Sun Herald newspaper of Biloxi.

A representative for the Harrison County coroner confirmed the death. Representatives for USA University Hospital could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jaheim McMillan
Jaheim McMillan.via WXXV

Gulfport police said in a news release that the shooting occurred around 2:30 p.m. after they responded to a 911 call about several minors waving guns at other motorists.

When police arrived, the minors "fled the vehicle," according to the release.

Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper said an officer engaged an armed suspect, since identified as McMillan, resulting in shots’ being fired. Police said the suspect "was transported to a local area hospital suffering from a single gunshot wound."

The police department has not released the officer's race.

The officer "has been placed on non-enforcement duties in accordance with procedures," the police statement said.

In a video recorded by a bystander after the shots were fired, McMillan could be seen on the ground in front of the door to the store. A witness said police handcuffed McMillan after he had been shot. Cooper said that police took four other suspects into custody, all believed to be minors, and that several firearms were recovered.

McMillan’s family does not believe he was armed, and their supporters called for the release of video of the shooting.

On Sunday, community members released balloons in McMillan's memory and staged a protest in front of the Gulfport Police Department, according to NBC affiliate WXXV of Gulfport.

“The pain is indescribable. ... It’s just like a hole in my heart," McMillan's grandmother Michelle Warren told WXXV. "They just snatched part of my heart out. Just what happened to him, getting shot in the head. Just still trying to process it.”

Gulfport Police Sgt. Jason Ducré directed NBC News’ requests for comment about McMillan’s death and calls to release video to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which did not immediately respond.

Mississippi police do not belong to a union. A representative for the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, which represents more than 60,000 law enforcement officers in the region, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

McMillan is survived by his mother, Katrina Mateen, as well as other relatives, the Sun Herald reported.

Sandy East, a spokesperson for the school district, confirmed that McMillan was a ninth grade student at Gulfport High School.

"We are very sad about the situation, and we are offering all of our students counseling and support if they need it," East said.

She said she could not comment on whether any of the other people who were taken into custody were also students given the investigation.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is examining the shooting, the Public Safety Department said in a statement, adding that it will share its findings with the attorney general's office.

The bureau investigates all police shootings in the state, and the attorney general’s office is in charge of any prosecutions.