Questions remain in Atlanta police shooting of teenager

A 16-year-old boy who was shot by police Thursday night was the suspect in an auto theft, an Atlanta police spokeswoman said Friday.

Officer M. Harris shot the teenager once after pursing him on foot into a poorly lit, sloping wooded area behind a gas station on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, spokeswoman Officer Kim Jones said.

Police did not say whether the teenager had threatened Harris during “the encounter,” nor did they say whether the teenager was armed. Police, however, said they found a handgun in the wood line near the scene of the shooting.

The teenager’s mother, Angela Jackson, told Channel 2 Action News on Thursday that she wanted specifics on why police shot her son, whom she identified as Johnny Morris Jr.

Officer O. Yakubu had responded to a 911 caller who said she had just seen teenagers kick in a door at 1440 Rome Ave. and take a large television to a white van parked at the location. A patrol officer saw the van, which was stolen, drive off from the address and ordered it to stop with lights and siren, but the driver tried to out run the patrol car until it crashed into a “fixed object” when turning onto Blyss Avenue NW from Chappell Road NW, Jones said.

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Yakubu saw the teenager flee behind a BP gas station at 1440 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy, and Harris, who had arrived to help, ran behind the station, where he found the teenager, police said.

“During that encounter Officer Harris discharged his weapon, firing one round [and] striking the subject,” Jones said.

The teenager was in stable condition at the hospital and is charged with car theft for the stolen van, obstruction of law enforcement, attempting to elude police and several traffic violations, Jones said.

In response to questions from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones said she did not have answers for whether Yakubu witnessed the shooting, whether the handgun was linked to the teenager or what prompted the officer to fire his gun.

“All that you are asking is under investigation,” Jones said.

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