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Philadelphia officer who fatally shot 12-year-old will be fired, commissioner says

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference Tuesday that the officer who shot Thomas Siderio violated the department’s “Use of Force” directives.

The Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed an allegedly armed 12-year-old last week will be fired, the city's police commissioner said.

The boy, identified by police as Thomas Siderio, was shot March 1 in his upper right back area, with the bullet exiting from the left chest area. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference Tuesday that the officer who shot Siderio violated the department’s “Use of Force” directives, including using excessive force. The officer has not been identified.

“Based off the evidence I reviewed, it’s clear that the use of force policy was violated,” Outlaw said, according to NBC Philadelphia. “All use of force has to be proportionate to the resistance they are trying to overcome. I will also tell you that our policy states excessive force will not be tolerated. That’s the gist of what we’re talking about.”

“This incident does not reflect who we are as the Philadelphia Police Department. It is not aligned with our values of honor, integrity and service," she said.

A spokesperson for the Fraternal Order of Police said the union had not comment.

The four plain clothes officers, assigned to the city’s South Task Force, were pursuing an illegal gun possession investigation last week when they spotted a teen wanted for questioning in relation to their investigation, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Police Department.

The officers drove toward the teen, who was with the 12-year-old, and put on the car’s sirens, police said.

“At that point, they heard gunfire and glass shattering from the rear passenger window,” according to police. One officer was struck by shards of glass while two others pursued the 12-year-old, who had shot at the car.

One officer was hit by shards of glass. No other officers were injured. The four were placed on administrative leave.

The gun allegedly shot by Siderio, a Taurus, 9MM, semi-automatic handgun, was recovered at the scene, police said. The firearm had been stolen.

The other teen, 17, who police were originally pursuing, was stopped for questioning and later released.

The Philadelphia District Attorney said it is also investigating the incident.

In 2020, local news outlets reported that Siderio had gone missing. Police said at the time that he regularly broke curfew and was thought to be with a friend.

NBC Philadelphia reported that an attorney representing Siderio’s family said they are filing a civil suit against the Philadelphia Police Department. The attorney once represented Siderio’s father, Thomas Siderio Sr., in a police brutality case.

Siderio Sr. is facing sentencing on on gun charges that were reduced from murder charges.