Christopher Roupe, 17, was a ROTC student at at Woodland High School in Georgia who dreamed of serving his country in the Marines. That dream came to an end when he answered a knock on the door of his trailer home. He found himself face-to-face with Euharlee police officers who promptly shot him to death. An officer said that she saw a weapon in his hand. It turned out to be a Wii controller.
The police were there to execute a probation violation warrant against his father. In defense of the officers, a probation violation can be one of the more dangerous assignments though it is not clear whether the father was wanted on a violent crime. However, a Wii remote is not only white but rectangular and thin. It is hardly strange that someone will come to the door with a drink or some other object in his or her hand. Moreover, this was a young boy and not the suspect.
The officer was seen afterward crying after she learned that she had shot an unarmed teenager.
The family says that he had asked who was at the door but received no response. They insist that the shot was virtually immediate after he opened the door.
There are many mistaken shootings including some which are terrible tragic but understandable as when officers chase an individual suspected of a violent crime only to have the suspect suddenly turn on them in the dark. However, this was not the suspect and there was clearly a failure to identify either the person or the object before lethal force was used. It reminds me of the recent case of police shooting a man holding a pair of underwear.
This small police department can expect a wrongful death lawsuit, but the question is what actions will be taken against the officer who is now on administrative leave.