In the months after an Oklahoma City policeman was cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting of a local teen, he and his mother say he was unarmed and had no time to respond at the time.
Sgt. Kyle Holcomb responded to a call on March 10 claiming several people — including two who were allegedly armed — were breaking into an abandoned home. He and other officers arrived on the scene and Oklahoma’s News 4 reported they heard what sounded like gunshots.
“I think it’s a cap gun, but they are shooting something off,” Holcomb is heard saying on the video.
When the officers got to the backyard, they found the alleged suspect, 14-year-old Lorenzo Clerkley, who they claimed was armed.
“Show me your hands! Drop it!” Holcomb shouts in the bodycam footage released Tuesday, May 7. Immediately following the warning he fired four shots at the teen, hitting him twice.
Local police said Lorenzo had a replica pistol that resembled a Beretta and he did not drop it when ordered to do so. Police spokesman Capt. Bo Mathews told CNN a replica gun was later recovered from the scene.
Lorenzo has denied he was armed when he was shot — in the leg and in the hip — and said he and his five pals were playing with BB guns. Lorenzo said his gun was not loaded and at one point he was just shooting it in the air.
Earlier this week, the district attorney decided not to file charges against Holcomb, who has resumed work at the police department after first being placed on paid leave and later being cleared criminally.
“A person in the shoes of Sgt. Holcomb would have had a reasonable belief that they were in imminent threat of being shot. Sgt. Holcomb’s use of deadly force to defend himself was justified and lawful,” District Attorney David Prater said in part a statement to News 4 of the decision.
However, Lorenzo still has entrance and exit wounds from the non-life-threatening injuries he received from Holcolmb’s shooting. The teen’s mother, Cherelle Lee, is not pleased with the DA’s decision.
“Even if he had a BB gun, you still have a protocol to sit there and ask him and command him to do what you need him to do, and once he’s not following that first command, then you take action on what you need to do from there,” Lee told CNN after stating her son did not have time to comply with Holcolmb’s command.
“By the time, I went out the window, I heard a voice say, ‘Freeze!’ and I jumped and looked to the right of me, and then he didn’t even give me no time to do anything — put my hands in the air, anything — and he just fired,” Lorenzo said.
The teen said he blacked out and came to in pain as officers dragged him across the yard adjacent to the house. Holcomb instructed Lorenzo to be still and the officers inspected him, discovering the bullet wounds.
“I feel like I’m not even protected by the cops no more. I feel like they’re against me now,” Lorenzo told CNN adding that if he could speak to the cleared officer, he’d let him know “that I’m actually a good kid, that I follow directions and stuff like that. He just didn’t give me time to follow his directions.”