New Jersey

Boy, 14, Shot by New Jersey Troopers, Faces Gun, Assault Charges

A 14-year-old boy who was shot by police this month after they say he pointed a gun at them during a foot chase was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault and gun charges.

Law enforcement officers and witnesses said the boy pointed a .22-caliber handgun at the officers when two state troopers and a Mercer County sheriff's officer began to chase him Aug. 7 in Trenton, the Attorney General's office said in a statement announcing the charges.

He was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, third-degree aggravated assault, and fourth-degree possession of a defaced firearm.

Investigators said the gun was found the following morning under the tire of an emergency response vehicle near where the teen was running.

The teen, who has previously been identified by a lawyer and family members as Radazz Hearns, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office, said a judge will order him to appear in court once he's medically cleared.

Attorney Samuel Anyan previously told reporters that Hearns was shot in the back of the legs and pelvis. He said that he faces "extensive rehabilitation."

Anyan didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on the charges Tuesday.

The incident has drawn protests in Trenton, including from first-term U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who has called for federal investigators to take over the case from the attorney general's office.

The Attorney General's Shooting Response Team is continuing to investigate whether the officers were justified to use force. It is being conducted under new rules governing state and county police-involved shooting investigations issued by Acting Attorney General John Hoffman on July 28.

A statement released on behalf of one of the unidentified troopers Tuesday said that the officer's actions were "completely justified."

"Simply put, you cannot threaten law enforcement officers with a gun and not expect that something bad will happen to you," attorney Robert Ebberup and Christopher Burgos, the state police union president, said in a statement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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