New Jersey police shoot unarmed teen 7 times as he runs away

Radazz Hearns, age 14 (Photo Source: Family handout)
Radazz Hearns, age 14 (Photo source: Family handout)

Radazz Hearns, 14, of Trenton, New Jersey, is lucky to be alive. The unarmed teen was shot seven times by police last week while he was running away. According to Hearns’ family, police jumped out of an unmarked vehicle and ran after him and two friends. The teens were just walking down the street when police responding to a report of shots fired in the area accosted the teens. Police claim that as Hearns ran away, he seemed to reach for his waistband prompting one of the officers to fire at Hearns, hitting him seven times.

However, Hearns’ family and a witnesses claim he was just pulling up his red jogging pants as he fled in fear from the police. One witness identified as Rhonda Tirado was 200 feet away when she saw a gray minivan pull up to the boys. According to Tirado, “Those police were amped and they didn’t give that little boy a chance. There was no room for no chase. They just shot that little boy right there. I don’t think those little boys had no clue what was going on… I think they was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

No gun was found on Hearns but 12 hours after the shooting, police found a .22 caliber handgun containing three rounds of ammunition underneath a car at the scene. Police stated that “darkness and the vehicle both impaired the ability of investigators to find it” on the night of the shooting despite searching the area with a K-9 unit.

The shooting prompted community outrage and Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson has asked for calm during the investigation and to avoid speculation. Hearns is in stable condition with wounds to both legs and his buttocks. Family attorney Samuel A. Anyan, Jr. stated at a press conference this week that officers will have to explain “why they were trying to execute a 14-year-old boy. You don’t have the right to be judge, jury and executioner.”

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave during the ongoing investigation.

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