State attorney: Tarpon Springs police justified for killing 17-year-old after pointing rifle at them

Pinellas County

Tarpon Springs Police Department

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA/AP) — Authorities in Florida have determined the fatal shooting of a teenager who pointed what turned out to be an air rifle at police was justifiable homicide.

Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said in a letter released Monday that an investigation into the Oct. 16 shooting of 17-year-old Alexander King found that all officers involved performed within their legal duties after the teen repeatedly refused their orders to put down the weapon.

Officers were investigating reports that the teen was pointing the rifle at passing cars in Tarpon Springs.

Police say King had 22 different interactions with law enforcement, 11 with other Pinellas County law enforcement agencies, and 11 with the Tarpon Springs Police Department, including two felony arrests which were battery on a school board employee in 2017 and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2018.

The letter also noted that King had a long history of mental illness.

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