Fountain police officer cleared in fatal shooting of teen
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The home on the 700 block of Legend Oak Drive in Fountain where an officer-involved shooting occurred is cordoned off by crime scene tape. Photo by Kassondra Cloos, The Gazette.

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In the wake of a deadly officer-involved shooting, the Fountain Police Department says it is trying to support both the family of teenager who was killed and the officer who shot him.

A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed Thursday afternoon by a Fountain police officer, and chief Chris Heberer said he arrived on the scene shortly after the shooting.

The boy's name has not been released because the case is under investigation, said a spokeswoman for the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Further information will come from the Sheriff's Office, she said.

The officer's name will be released Monday, Heberer said.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, two officers were dispatched to a house in the 700 block of Legend Oak Drive after a woman called police about a disturbance.

Sheriff's Lt. Bob Jaworski and Fountain Deputy Chief Ron Reeves said at the scene a couple of hours after the shooting that a male in the house had shown a handgun before the shooting. No details were given about whether anyone was threatened or why the officer fired.

The teenager was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:12 p.m.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the Sheriff's Office investigation, per Fountain police protocol. He and a second officer who was dispatched to the scene but was not in the home at the time of the shooting were wearing body-worn cameras.

To preserve the integrity of the evidence, Heberer said he has not watched the footage, and no one in his department will touch it until the Sheriff's Office has reviewed it.

Heberer called the incident "tragic," and said his department is trying to take care of both the family of the teen who was killed and the officer who shot him.

The chief made sure counseling services were offered to the teenager's family at the hospital Thursday. Counseling has also been offered to the officer and his family.

"We wanted to make sure they (the teenager's family) got all the assistance they needed," Heberer said. "We're trying to take care of all those people simultaneously. It's going to be a challenge, but it's the right thing to do."

The teen's mother was reportedly hysterical after the shooting, and Heberer confirmed a neighbor's account that the mother had been placed in handcuffs for a short time. She was not arrested, and Heberer said she was released from the cuffs when he arrived on scene. The chief had one of his lieutenants drive her and her daughter to the hospital.

The officer was distraught after he shot the teenager, according to a neighbor. He appeared weak in the knees and needed assistance so he wouldn't collapse, the neighbor said.

Heberer said he was the one who supported the officer.

"I went to the police academy with him, so I know him very well," the chief said. "He's a good man, he's a good family man. He's got teenagers and kids, so you can imagine how he's taking it. Sometimes that side isn't always told, but ... when he came out of the house, I (had) just showed up. And those events are very true, and I grabbed him. I took my brother and sat him down."

Details about what happened inside the house and why police were called have not been released. Heberer said he knows the officer, who had a "positive" history with the teenager and his mother, was trying to help when he responded.

"It's very tragic. We never want that to happen."


Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362

Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos


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