Mar 9, 2022 - News

Philadelphia officer who fatally shot 12-year-old boy will be fired

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw

Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw giving an update on the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Thomas "TJ" Siderio on Tuesday. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

The Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Thomas "TJ" Siderio Jr. in the back last week will be fired.

Driving the news: Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the officer's actions excessive during a press conference Tuesday, saying that the cop violated the department's use-of-force policy.

  • The earliest the officer can be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss is Friday.
  • "I won't say it was a difficult decision," Outlaw said, adding that the fatal shooting was not reflective of the department or its values.

The big picture: Outlaw's move comes days after Thomas Siderio Sr., TJ's father, filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court against the four officers involved in the shooting, his lawyer J. Conor Corcoran confirmed to Axios.

  • "The Philadelphia police murdered his 12-year-old boy in cold blood," Corcoran said.

Of note: Outlaw has declined to identify the officers due to concerns about potential threats to those involved.

Flashback: On March 1 around 7:20pm, four plainclothes officers were in an unmarked car on a firearms investigation around 18th and Johnston streets in South Philadelphia when they saw Siderio and a 17-year-old, who was wanted for questioning in the probe.

  • Police drove toward the pair and activated their car's emergency lights when they say they heard gunfire.
  • A window of the unmarked police car shattered, injuring an officer with shards of broken glass. Siderio and the teen fled, and two officers gave chase, firing their weapons a total of four times, Outlaw said.
  • Siderio was shot once in the back and later died at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

Catch up fast: Police do not have body camera footage of the shooting from the officers involved.

  • Police have recovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun with a laser, which was reported stolen.
  • Outlaw said yesterday that police believe Siderio shot the bullet that hit the police car.
  • The three other officers involved in the fatal shooting have been placed on administrative duty.

What's next: A viewing for Siderio, who was in seventh grade at Sharswood Elementary, will be held Wednesday and Thursday at Lighthouse Baptist Church.

  • A burial will take place at Fernwood Cemetery on Thursday.

What to watch: The Philadelphia Police Department and District Attorney's Office are conducting dual investigations into the fatal shooting.

  • District Attorney Larry Krasner has yet to determine whether to file criminal charges against the officer.
  • "The death of a child is always a tragedy, and in this instance, a factually complex and deeply troubling one based on preliminary investigative information," Krasner said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 hasn't commented on whether it would support the soon-to-be fired officer, a union spokesperson told Axios.

Meanwhile, police are reviewing policies, training, tactics and more following the fatal shooting, Outlaw said.


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