Boy, 12, fatally shot by police in South Philly

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Jack Tomczuk

Police officers shot and killed a 12-year-old boy Tuesday night in South Philadelphia after their vehicle allegedly came under fire.

Thomas Siderio was shot in the back just after 7:20 p.m. on the 1800 block of Barbara Street, authorities said on Wednesday.

An officer who responded to the scene was injured when he was hit in the face and eye by glass shards from a bullet that shattered a police car window. He was treated at a local hospital and released, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.

Police said a 17-year-old boy who was with Thomas was apprehended and released after questioning.

Four undercover officers inside an unmarked car were in the area conducting a gun-related investigation in response to social media posts, Deputy Commissioner Ben Naish told reporters Wednesday.

The officers spotted the boys on bicycles at the corner of 18th and Barbara streets and recognized the 17-year-old as someone they wanted to talk to, he added.

As soon as they activated their blue-and-red emergency lights, they heard gunfire and a bullet came through the rear passenger’s side window and lodged itself into a headrest, according to Naish.

The PPD said two officers got out of the vehicle and fired multiple rounds. One of the officers chased Thomas down Barbara Street and fired two additional shots, one of which hit the boy in his upper right back and exited through his chest, authorities said.

Police took Thomas to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

“We are seeing that victims and perpetrators of crime are becoming younger and younger, which is a very disturbing trend that we all must recognize and work to address,” Mayor Jim Kenney said Wednesday.

Investigators found a loaded 9mm handgun with a laser sight on Thomas, according to the PPD. The gun had previously been reported stolen.

Both officers who opened fire have been placed on administrative duty pending further investigation, which is department protocol for police-involved shootings. Neither was wearing a body-worn camera.

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