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The 14-year-old Nevada boy critically wounded by a school district police officer took butter knives to school to protect himself against regular bullying, his father told NBC News.
The officer shot Logan Clark during a confrontation witnessed by more than 40 classmates Dec. 7 at Hug High School in Reno, authorities said. They said Logan got into an altercation with a classmate and began threatening other students with a knife. The officer opened fire when Logan disregarded commands to drop the knife, they said.
Logan suffered a stroke the day after the shooting and is not responsive, his father, Justin Clark said in an interview Thursday morning on TODAY. The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.
NBC News has previously not used Logan's name because he is a minor. Clark approved NBC News' use of his son's name.
Clark said his son had been targeted because he was believed by some older classmates to have "snitched" on them after Logan and the other students were suspended for an off-campus fight. He said Logan pulled a knife last week to protect himself from a larger classmate who'd just hit him in the face.
"He went into a combat situation knowingly with a 14-year-old mind how to solve it, with very little options," Clark said.
Referring to videos of the shooting that have been circulated online, Clark said his son was "no threat to anybody."
"They keep running at him and antagonizing him and making a scene," Clark said. "He just doesn't want to be attacked anymore. And that's what happened."
The knives weren't even useful, he said — they were dull butter knives from Logan's grandmother's kitchen, said Clark.
He added that he understood that officers were trained to handle threats with decisive force.
"That's not what I'm upset about," Clark said. "I'm upset that he didn't have another alternative, or he didn't spend more time trying to talk my son down."
"Here's the funny thing," he said: "They say they don't carry Tasers because they can be fatal to children or too damaging to children — but a bullet isn't. Interesting. I don't know.
"I know that anything would have been able to stop him," he said of Logan. "My son weighs, like, 120 pounds at best. That's if he eats a meal and wears a heavy jacket."
Clark said he also didn't blame the scores of other children at the scene who appeared to have done nothing to help Logan.
"Ultimately, they're children," he said. "I cannot place blame for their lack of being proactive."
If anyone is to blame directly, Clark said, "I guess I would say me," because Logan apparently was unwilling to confide in him about the extent of his bullying.
"I would say let's maybe pay attention when there's any kind of clue or any kind of thing sets off your radar that says there might be bullying. Let's look into it a little bit more," he said. "Don't go sit by and dismiss it based on what somebody said or hasn't said."
In Logan's case, he said, "everybody dropped the ball."
And because of that, "my son will never be the same again — not even close," Clark said.
"He had a very promising future — he was very athletic. He may not look it. But he was very athletic," Clark said. "And he'll never be that kid again."