The juvenile, whose identity remains confidential, faces charges including: burglary, motor vehicle theft, eluding police, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and possessing an instrument of crime.
By Matt Skoufalos | July 25, 2019
UPDATE: July 26, 2019, 3:10 p.m. — The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) today confirmed that a 17-year-old West Deptford resident who was shot by officers in a confrontation on the Walt Whitman Bridge will face charges.
The teen was charged by the DRPA with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing an instrument of crime.
A spokesperson for the agency couldn’t immediately confirm whether the suspect will be charged as an adult or as a juvenile.
Police said Thursday that the unidentified teen allegedly live-streamed his encounter with authorities as he led them on a highway chase in a stolen bus. The vehicle, which was taken from an unsecured dealer lot in his hometown, was found crashed on the bridge by DRPA officers some time after it was stolen Monday. They later shot the 17-year-old while taking him into custody.
The suspect, who is currently in stable condition at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, faces juvenile charges in New Jersey for burglary, motor vehicle theft, and eluding officers, West Deptford Police Chief Sean McKenna said.
McKenna also said detectives have recovered Snapchat footage of the incident from the suspect’s social media account that allegedly indicates he was broadcasting his encounter with police during the pursuit.
“During the theft, we saw officers behind him with the lights and sirens on [in the video],” the chief said.
Some time after West Deptford police aborted the highway chase out of safety concerns, the teen allegedly crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge into Philadelphia, where his vehicle was recovered by DRPA police in the eastbound lane of traffic.
The DRPA had no answer Monday for how the vehicle came to end up where it was, and couldn’t confirm whether the driver had taken it into Pennsylvania and was headed back to New Jersey, or had made a U-turn before the toll plaza.
The agency said its officers encountered the suspect at the site of the crash, then shot him multiple times after the teen, allegedly masked and armed with a knife, disobeyed their commands to surrender.
At Monday’s press conference, DRPA said the incident was just the second officer-involved shooting in its nearly 70-year history.
The agency has not yet responded to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for information related to the incident.
Philadelphia Police have been tasked with investigating the shooting, and said Friday that the case is still ongoing.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the department said investigators would likely recommend charges against the juvenile suspect, but that no information would be released unless the Philadelphia District Attorney (DA) acts on those recommendations.
On Thursday, a spokesman for the Philadelphia DA declined to comment on the case at all, citing institutional policy in cases involving juvenile defendants.
This is a developing story. Stick with NJ Pen for updates.
All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. An arrest is not a conviction.
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