The 14-year-old who was shot by police earlier this month was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault on a police officer and weapons offenses, alleging he pointed a handgun at the officers before they shot him multiple times.
The Attorney General’s office released this statement: “The juvenile was in possession of a .22-caliber handgun that he pointed at the pursuing police officers. Law enforcement witnesses and a civilian eyewitness who were at the scene reported that the juvenile had the gun in his hand as he ran and that one of the officers yelled ‘gun’ before they fired.”
According to NJ.com, Radazz Hearns, who is recovering from gunshot wounds to his legs and buttocks from the the Aug. 7 shooting, was charged with a single count each of aggravated assault, possession of a handgun, and possession of a defaced firearm.
The Office of the Attorney General’s statement does not name Hearns because of his age, though family members and a family attorney have previously identified him.
Hearns had the gun when a State Police trooper and a Mercer County sheriff’s officer confronted him after a police received a report that gunfire was heard in the area, authorities said.
A .22-caliber gun was found in the area of the shooting 12 hours later. A fire truck that was providing lighting at the crime scene had parked on top of it, authorities.
The Trooper’s attorney Robert A. Ebberup, along with Christopher Burgos, president of the New Jersey Troopers union, said the teen had a gun during the confrontation.
Ebberup said he was not surprised the teen was charged. “I expected charges, and the facts clearly support my client’s and the sheriff’s officer’s actions. There was never a question in my mind about it,” the lawyer said.
“The only sad part is the way the people around this young boy reacted. They could have created a situation out there that was dangerous for the community,” he said.
Statement from the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association and the attorney representing the Trooper:
This office represents the unnamed trooper involved in the shooting of a 14-year-old youth in Trenton, N.J. on August 7, 2015. The event took place near the intersection of Calhoun Street and Louise Lane and the youth was identified as Radazz Hearns.
Remarks made by elected officials and the family attorney for Radazz Hearns concerning the shooting incident on August 7, 2015 have been gratuitous, inflammatory, and dangerous. The actions of the Trooper and Mercer County Sheriff’s officer involved in that shooting are completely justified. Simply put, you cannot threaten law enforcement officers with a gun and not expect that something bad will happen to you.
The Trooper and Sheriff’s officer involved in the shooting are part of a specially formed task force (Targeted Integrated Deployment Effort – T.I.D.E.), which was formed at the direction of the attorney general to stem the tide of violent crime in Trenton, including the daily, endless shootings that occur in that city. Gunfire in Trenton is so rampant that shotspotters, a system designed to immediately alert police of gunfire and its specific location, have been placed throughout areas of the city which have been determined as being the most dangerous for violent crime, street gangs, and shootings.
For the past three years, troopers and other law enforcement officers assigned to the T.I.D.E. initiative have performed spectacularly while impacting the crime ridden areas of Trenton, clearly improving the quality of life and safety of the law abiding people who reside amongst the thugs who engage in a wide range of criminal acts, including drug dealing, assaults and murders. These dedicated law enforcement officers leave their families daily and place their lives on the line as they confront the hardened and dangerous criminals that bring nothing but terror to the good citizens of Trenton.
The efforts of the courageous officers assigned to this special unit have yielded amazing results, effectuating hundreds of arrests from as many investigations for an array of criminal activities including drug possession, drug distribution, weapons possession and other violent crimes. They have also removed over a hundred firearms from the streets of Trenton; firearms that could potentially have harmed innocent civilians. The officers’ work has been recognized by the Attorney General, the upper commands of their respective agencies, as well as the Mayor of Trenton, who personally congratulated the members of this unique crime fighting unit for their outstanding work and for keeping the citizens of Trenton safe.
As you can imagine, operating in such a volatile criminal atmosphere does not come without the threat of potential deadly force incidents. Members of the T.I.D.E. initiative have shown incredible restraint while defusing potential deadly force incidents. Their commitment to the safety of the citizens of Trenton, as well as their professionalism, never wavered, even in the face of extreme danger such as being shot at and assaulted.