A Wisconsin deputy fatally shot an eighth-grader on an Indian reservation Wednesday, claiming he 14-year-old boy was holding a knife.
But the boy’s grandfather says he was only holding a cellphone and “never had one mean bone in his body.”
The Ashland County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot Jason Pero on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s reservation has not yet been identified, according to KBJR6.
And the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, which provides law enforcement services to the reservation along with the tribal police department, has offered few details to the public, only stating the deputy shot the “suspect” and that he was “struck by gunfire” several times before he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Dispatchers received a call around 11:48 a.m. about a male subject armed with a knife walking down the street.
A deputy who responded to the call fired multiple shots, striking Pero.
According to the state Justice Department, a knife was found at the scene, but it’s not uncommon for police to plant a weapon after botching a shooting to relieve themselves from criminal and civil liability.
Holly Gauthier described her son as kind, loving and a “big teddy bear” and has many questions as the Ahsland County Sheriff’s department remains silent on the matter.
“There is no reason you can justify shooting a 14-year-old boy,” she said.
Pero had gone home sick from school on Wednesday and was staying at his grandparents house.
“This is a tragedy that should not have happened,” Bad River Band Chairman Robert Blanchard told the Associated Press.
“There’s other ways to do things than to pull out a gun and shoot him.”
The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release on their Facebook page stating the department is following protocol and allowing the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
There is also a Facebook post circulating claiming to have been written by an eye-witness who said he or she recorded a video of at least the aftermath of the shooting, but then deleted the video out of respect to the boy’s family.
As Many of You know (probably more that don’t know) Yesterdays Gun Violence took place in front of Our Homes here was preceded By a “Shots fired” call which was quickly replaced by “Someone with a knife” call (supposedly) so what We witnessed and recorded on video does not match the official “Press Release”! I stand by what I posted yesterday that The Shots Fired call put the officer in a mindframe that He was gonna possibly be shot at! We told Him repeatedly to put His Gun away and at least try to help that Young Man as He struggled to stay alive only to be shouted at to “Stay Down”! Its hard to watch a fellow Human Being take His last breaths! We didn’t know Who it was laying in the road until His Gramma arrived and Screamed “Thats My Baby”! Tore My Heart up instantly because only then Did We realize that Was Our Neighbor Baby Jason Pero! We have video and pictues circulating on Social Media from “Shares” of My FB Live I deleted out of Respect to My Neighbors!
At this point, a search through Facebook public posts with keywords from above does not show where the post originated.
This is a developing story. PINAC is trying to obtain video of the incident, if there is any.
Check back for updates.