Updated May 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Philadelphia officer who fatally shot 12-year-old boy faces murder charge

Police tape blocks a street where a person was recently shot in a drug related event in Kensington on July 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Police tape blocks a street on July 19, 2021 in Philadelphia. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A Philadelphia police officer was charged in connection with fatally shooting a 12-year-old boy in March, the city's district attorney announced Monday.

Driving the news: Edsaul Mendoza is facing first-degree and third-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Thomas "TJ" Siderio on March 1, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a press conference.

  • The former officer also faces a voluntary manslaughter charge and a charge for possession of an instrument of crime. Mendoza is being held without bail, Krasner said.

What happened: Mendoza was one of four plainclothes officers inside an unmarked police car on a firearms investigation during the evening of March 1, when they pulled up to Siderio and a 17-year-old.

  • Krasner said Siderio "likely" fired at the car, and a bullet entered the back window. Three of the officers took cover, but Mendoza ran after the boy and shot at him three times.
  • At the time of the last two shots, Siderio was unarmed because he tossed the gun during the foot chase, Krasner said.

The aftermath: Days after the shooting, police commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the officer's actions excessive, saying that the cop violated the department's use-of-force policy.

  • Mendoza was fired from the police force shortly after.

What they're saying: "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, had no ability to harm him, but he fired a shot through his back," Krasner said.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby told Axios it'll provide an attorney to represent Mendoza.

  • "We are confident that our judicial system will protect this officer's constitutional right to a fair trial," McNesby said.

What's next: A preliminary hearing is set for May 16.

Go deeper: Philadelphia officer who fatally shot 12-year-old boy will be fired.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add background and details from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's announcement, as well as a comment from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 president John McNesby.

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