BREAKING: Criminal complaint against officer Rosfeld says Antwon Rose did not fire any shots in N. Braddock; was shot in face, back in E. Pittsburgh.
The district attorney released new surveillance video Wednesday showing the shooting in North Braddock.
MICHAEL ROSFELD COMPLAINT:
All of the information contained in this affidavit was received from other other officers and detectives involved in the investigation. All civilian witnesses whose information will be used in this affidavit have been positively identified through official means. They will be referred to in this affidavit as known, unnamed witnesses in order to provide for their safety and preserve the integrity of the investigation. All parties providing information used herein will be available to testify in any and all court proceedings arising from the investigation.
On June 19, 2018, at 8:27 pm, the North Braddock Police were dispatched to the intersection of Jones Avenue and Baldridge Avenue in response to 911 calls about shots being fired in that area. That area is known to the North Braddock Police for drug activity and prior shootings. North Braddock Police officers responded and, as per mutual aid agreements with neighboring municipalities, officers from the East Pittsburgh Police Department and Braddock Police Department responded to assist.
When the North Braddock Police officers arrived at that location, at approximately 8:29 pm, they were informed that a vehicle had been travelling east on Baldridge Avenue when a passenger began firing from the vehicle toward individuals standing on Jones Avenue. The vehicle then fled the area travelling east on North Avenue. A witness initially described the vehicle as a tan or gold Mercury with aftermarket wheels. That description was broadcast over the police radio frequency that is shared by the six municipal police departments that surround North Braddock, including East Pittsburgh.
At approximately 8:30 pm, one person was located on Kirkpatrick Street who had been wounded during the shooting. This victim had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. This information was also broadcast over the police radio. As more information became available to the responding officers, the description of the suspect vehicle was updated to be a light gold in color Chevrolet Cruze with tinted windows. This was also broadcast over the police radio.
North Braddock Police officers secured the scene and requested the investigative assistance of the Allegheny County Police Department. Detectives from that department responded immediately to the scene. Detectives have since memorialized all of the aforementioned police radio broadcasts via digital media and the corresponding computer-aided dispatch (CAD) logs.
The victim was transported to a local trauma hospital where he was treated for a grazing gunshot wound to the abdomen. An Allegheny County Police detective responded to the hospital where he interviewed the victim. The victim was positively identified and will be referred to as Witness #1. Witness #1 stated he/she was standing on Jones Avenue near a black male wearing a red shirt when he/she heard gunfire and realized he/she had been struck in the stomach area. Witness #1 ran to a nearby residence to await medics. Witness #1 stated he/she did not see who had shot at him/her and further stated that he/she did not know the identity of the black male wearing the red shirt.
Detectives responding to the scene were familiar with the area and were aware that the intersection of Baldridge Avenue and Jones Avenue had video surveillance cameras. They requested access to that footage immediately upon their arrival. Those detectives, along with scientists from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office Mobile Unit, processed the scene and recovered nine spent .40 caliber cartridge casings along the path driven by the suspect vehicle. They also collected four spent .45 caliber cartridge casings from the location described by Witness #1 as where he and the black male in the red shirt were standing.
Detectives reviewed the video surveillance footage from the scene and observed a light-colored Chevrolet Cruze sedan travelling east on Baldridge Avenue. As it approached the intersection of Jones Avenue, the rear passenger window went down and a handgun emerged from that window. The person holding that gun began firing. The front passenger window was closed. The location of the spent .40 caliber casings was consistent with the location of the car on the video. Detectives further reviewed the video and determined that the person firing the weapon was a black male wearing a dark shirt. Detectives were also able to determine that the front seat passenger did not fire a weapon, as the front passenger window remained closed throughout the incident. A complete examination of the video by detectives revealed a black male wearing a red shirt positioned on the eastern sidewalk of Jones Avenue at the intersection. This male was observed drawing a handgun from his waistband and firing it at the Chevrolet Cruze as the occupant of the Chevrolet Cruze was firing at him. The male in the red shirt continued firing as the Chevrolet Cruze drove away. The location of the spent .45 caliber casings recovered at the scene was consistent with the placement of this male in the video.
Original copies of all video footage from the shooting at the intersection of Baldridge Avenue and Jones Avenue have been preserved and maintained in evidence. For purposes of this investigation, detectives were able merge the security footage from the camera on Baldridge Avenue with that from the camera on Jones Avenue. Viewing these videos together in sequence provides the best-available representation of the events as they transpired. Additionally, investigators redacted the identities of other individuals in that video for purposes of this criminal complaint. A copy of this edited video is incorporated by reference and will be referred to as Exhibit A.
As Allegheny County Police detectives were responding to the initial request for investigative assistance at the North Braddock shooting scene, a broadcast over the police radio alerted them that there had been an officer-involved shooting in East Pittsburgh. Three Allegheny County Police detectives responded directly to that scene and requested additional support.
When detectives arrived at the scene in East Pittsburgh, they found it to be secured with crime scene tape and uniformed officers from various local municipalities. The scene was contained on Grandview Avenue at the intersection of Christina Alley, generally in front of the East Pittsburgh Senior Citizen center. Detectives were advised that, during a traffic stop conducted by Officer Michael Rosfeld, Officer Rosfeld discharged his weapon striking one of the occupants of the car involved in the traffic stop. That person, later identified as Antwon Rose, had been transported to UPMC McKeesport Hospital. Detectives were also advised that another person who had been in the vehicle that was the subject of the traffic stop had fled the scene and was now the subject of an area-wide search. Detectives also learned that a third person from the traffic stop was in custody in the Officer Rosfeld’s patrol vehicle.
Scientists from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office Mobile Unit and detectives from the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit documented and processed the scene. In the area of the scene, Grandview Avenue runs generally north and south. Christina Alley ends at Grandview Avenue, creating a tee intersection. Standing on Grandview Avenue facing north, there is a stop sign on the east curb. Christina Alley runs to the west. A time-distance study was completed to measure the distance and travel time between the initial drive-by shooting scene in North Braddock and the second scene in East Pittsburgh. The two scenes are 1.5 miles apart. It takes five minutes and thirty-one seconds, driving at the speed limit, to travel between the two scenes.
Investigators documented a light gold Chevrolet Cruze sedan bearing PA registration KLM 6917 parked approximately two feet from the east curb of Grandview Avenue. The vehicle was stopped to the north of the stop sign with the rear bumper generally in line with the stop sign. The Chevroley Cruze was parked facing north with the driver’s side front door and passenger side rear door open. The rear window had been shattered and freshly broken safety glass was observed on the rear deck and rear seat. There was a bullet hole in the trunk to the right of the license plate and a bullet hole in the front passenger side door. On the ground near the open driver’s door was a Chevrolet key fob and car key.
Parked approximately 24 feet to the rear of the Chevrolet Cruze was a marked East Pittsburgh Police vehicle designated as Unit 10. The vehicle was a Ford Police Interceptor SUV. The driver’s side front door was open and the emergency lights were active. The vehicle was generally in the middle of the roadway and offset to the west of the Chevrolet Cruze. On the pavement next to the open driver’s door of the police vehicle was a spent 9mm caliber casing. On the pavement near the rear bumper of the police vehicle was a spent 9mm caliber casing. On the pavement under the front bumper of the police vehicle was a spent 9mm casing. Parked approximately six and a half feet to the rear of East Pittsburgh Unit 10 was marked East Pittsburgh Police Unit 8, also generally in the center of the roadway. Unit 8 was a Ford sedan and had the emergency lights active.
The victim had been located in a grassy area to the east of the Chevrolet Cruze, approximately 46 feet from, and in line with, the B pillar of the vehicle. This area can be described as a side yard situated between the structure that is the East Pittsburgh senior citizen center and the residence at 710 Grandview Avenue. Medical supplies were present in the area where the victim was treated. To the east of this grassy area is State Route 30, which is currently closed. Immediately to the rear of the grassy area is a pedestrian tunnel under State Route 30 that provides access to Linden Avenue.
During the search for the person who fled the scene, an officer observed a black male run from a wooded area near the East Pittsburgh public works garage. The officer was unable to catch the individual, but did observe a black tee shirt on the ground in the area from where the person had run. It appeared that the person who fled had attempted to hide the shirt along the path of flight. This shirt was documented and collected by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office Mobile Unit. The area in question is in close proximity to the aforementioned tunnel.
During the canvass of the neighborhood, two witnesses provided information to investigators. The first witness lives in close proximity to the scene and had a clear vantage point of the events. This person will be referred to as Witness #2.
Witness #2 stated he/she was seated on his/her front porch when he/she observed the police pull over a gray car, and referenced the car at the scene. He/she stated that the police officer exited his car and pointed his gun at the gray car. He/she heard the officer give the driver orders to get out of the car and put his hands up. The driver complied. Witness #2 believed the officer handcuffed the driver while he was on the ground. Witness #2 stated that the officer then turned his attention to the other occupants of the car, ordering them out. He/she described those occupants as black males who both exited the passenger side of the vehicle. He/she said they immediately fled the car towards Route 30. He/she stated he/she could clearly see that neither male had anything in his hands. Witness #2 went on to say the males ran between Witness #2’s home and the Senior Center, an area he/she described as his/her yard. Witness #2 stated that he/she then heard and saw the officer fire his pistol at the males as they were running through his/her yard. Witness #2 stated he/she became aware that one of the men was injured in the yard, so Witness #2 went inside and watched from a window.
Another person encountered during the canvass provided information. That person will be identified as Witness #3. Witness #3 stated he/she was on his/her front porch smoking a cigarette when the police pulled over a car near the stop sign at Christina Alley. Witness #3 assumed the stop was for running the stop sign. Witness #3 indicated that the officer was alone. Witness #3’s attention was next drawn to the situation when he/she saw the officer with his gun drawn and pointed at the car. A passenger emerged from the passenger side of the vehicle and began to put his hands on the roof of the car, but then immediately turned and ran away from the officer into the yard next to the Senior Citizen center. Witness #3 said the officer then fired his weapon three times at the person as he ran away. Witness #3 stated the person’s hands were empty and the officer shot at him as he was running away from the officer.
Witness #3 went on to say that another person emerged from the car and ran in the same direction as the first. He/she believed this person came from the driver’s seat and believed that his hands were empty.
Detectives at the scene interviewed Witness #4. Witness #4 stated he/she was standing at the intersection of Grandview Avenue and Franklin Street when the police officer initiated the traffic stop. He/she heard the siren and saw the emergency lights. He/she stated that, after the vehicle stopped, the officer started giving orders to the driver, who complied.
Witness #4 said a passenger then got out of the car and started to run. He/she said the officer then fired his weapon at the person as the person ran. Witness #4 did not see if the person was struck by the gunfire.
Police officers secured the driver of the suspect vehicle and transported him to Allegheny County Police Headquarters for an interview. He will be identified as Witness #5. Witness #5 explained that he was the owner of the Chevrolet Cruze involved in the traffic stop in East Pittsburgh. Witness #5 signed a consent to search form allowing the vehicle to be processed.
Witness #5 stated that he worked during the day of June 19 and, on his way home, he stopped at a tattoo parlor. The tattoo parlor was not open, so he went home for a while. Witness #5 then drove into the Hawkins Village housing complex. There, he bumped into two individuals, one he knew as Javon and the second he knew only by sight. They asked him for a ride to Grandview Avenue in East Pittsburgh. Witness #5 agreed and they got into his car. He described Javon as wearing a light colored shirt and getting in the front passenger seat and the other male as wearing a black shirt and getting in the rear passenger seat.
Witness #5 explained that, as they were driving towards East Pittsburgh, they passed a market in North Braddock. As they approached the market, Witness #5 heard the male in the rear seat ask, “Is that him?” Then Witness #5 heard gunfire, which he believed came from inside his vehicle. Witness #5 went on to say that he then drove away from the scene in the direction of East Pittsburgh.
Witness #5 stated that when he got to East Pittsburgh, a police vehicle was behind him and turned on its emergency lights. He said he immediately stopped. He heard the officer giving him commands to turn off the vehicle and throw they keys from the car. Witness #5 complied with those commands. The officer then gave Witness #5 commands to exit the vehicle and lay prone on the ground. Again, he complied. Witness #5 believed he was lying prone on the ground near the officer’s police car.
Witness #5 said he then heard the officer giving commands to the passengers. Witness #5 said that, from where he was lying, he could only see the passengers’ feet as they exited the car. Witness #5 saw their feet turn to run, and then heard several gunshots. He went on to say he stayed on the ground until he was handcuffed and put in a police car.
Witness #5 stated he did not have any firearms in the vehicle. He also consented to a gunshot residue test of his hands. Detectives showed Witness #5 a photograph of Antwon Rose. He positively identified that photo as the person he knew as Javon, who occupied the front passenger seat of his car.
During the processing of the Chevrolet Cruze at the scene, detectives recovered two firearms. The first was a 9mm Glock model 26 pistol from under the front portion of the front passenger seat. That firearm was loaded with a 17-round-capacity magazine, which contained 16 rounds. The chamber of the weapon was empty.
Detectives recovered the second firearm from under the rear portion of the front passenger seat. It was a .40 caliber Glock model 22 pistol with an extended magazine. There was a live round in the chamber of this weapon and the extended magazine had 18 live rounds remaining in it. The magazine was not loaded to capacity.
Detectives submitted both firearms to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Crime Laboratory for examination. The .40 caliber Glock pistol was positively determined to have discharged the spent .40 caliber casings recovered from the shooting scene in North Braddock.
Detectives checked the history of both weapons. The .40 cal Glock model 22 pistol had been reported stolen in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania in 2016. The 9mm caliber Glock 26 pistol had been reported lost on June 19, 2018, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.
Detectives also secured the 9mm pistol belonging to Officer Rosfeld and submitted it to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office for testing.
A homicide detective from the Allegheny County Police Department responded to UPMC McKeesport on the night of the shooting and learned that Antwon Rose was pronounced dead at 9:19 pm on June 19, 2018. Hospital personnel provided the detective with items of clothing and belongings that arrived at the hospital along with Antwon Rose. Among those items were a light gray tee shirt and an empty 9mm Glock magazine, reportedly recovered from the victim’s right front pocket.
Rose’s body was then transported to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office where Dr. Abdulrezak Shakir completed an autopsy. Dr. Shakir ruled that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the trunk and the manner of death was homicide. The autopsy report explained that the victim had been struck three times by bullets: Once to the right side of the face exiting near the bridge of the nose, a second time to the inside of the right elbow exiting in the mid portion of the outside of the right upper arm, and the third gunshot wound entered the mid back to the right of the spine and struck the victim’s lung and heart. The wound to the back was fatal. A 9mm bullet was recovered in the chest cavity. Scientists from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office were able to determine that the 9mm bullet was discharged from the 9mm pistol used by Officer Rosfeld.
At the scene, detectives were alerted to the presence of a video that had been uploaded to Facebook that presumably showed the sequence of events during the traffic stop that Officer Rosfeld had initiated. Detectives were able to ascertain the identity of the person who took that video. This person will be referred to as Witness #6. Witness #6 stated that he/she used his/her cellular telephone to record the incident. Witness #6 gave permission to detectives to download an original copy of the video that had been posted to Facebook. That video has been preserved and maintained in evidence. A copy of that video, with extraneous commentary redacted, is incorporated by reference and will be referred to as Exhibit B.
At the scene, detectives were alerted to the presence of a Facebook video that presumably showed the sequence of events during the traffic stop that Officer Rosfeld had initiated. Detectives attempted to make contact with the person who had recorded the video, but that person refused to provide speak with investigators. He/she also refused to provide a copy of said video to investigators. To date, this witness has refused to cooperate in any way with the investigation.
In the absence of the original video, detectives were able to memorialize the video from several social media platforms. Using that video, detectives were able to discern that after the initial traffic stop, two people fled from the passenger side of the Chevrolet Cruze. The front seat passenger was wearing a light-colored shirt, consistent with the gray shirt recovered from Antwon Rose. The rear passenger was wearing a black shirt.
From the video, it appears that the front seat passenger, wearing the gray shirt, emerges from the vehicle and begins to flee toward the grassy area next to the Senior Citizen center. A single gunshot can be heard on the video, followed by two more gunshots in quick succession. As that is happening, the rear seat passenger, wearing a dark-colored shirt, flees in the same direction. A copy of that video, with extraneous audio commentary redacted, is incorporated by reference and will be referred to as Exhibit B.
The Allegheny County Police made a request through the media that anyone with information concerning this event contact the Allegheny County Police telephone tip line. An individual contacted the tip line to provide another video and information. That person will be identified as Witness #7.
Witness #7 explained that he was travelling north on Grandview Avenue when he observed the police make a traffic stop. Upon realizing that it was not a normal traffic stop, Witness #7 started recording the stop on his cell phone. He provided that video to investigators.
Detectives reviewed the video that Witness #7 provided and were able to determine that the driver of the Chevrolet Cruze was prone on the ground when Officer Rosfeld discharged his weapon. At that time, no other persons can be seen exiting the driver’s side of the Chevrolet Cruze.
On June 22, 2018, at approximately 4:00 pm, Allegheny County Police detectives interviewed Officer Michael Rosfeld in the presence of his attorney. The interview was recorded with audio and video.
Officer Rosfeld explained that he was working the 3pm to 11pm shift on June 19 with three other officers. He further explained that it was not normal to have that many officers working a shift, but he and two others were officially being sworn in as East Pittsburgh Officers that evening.
Officer Rosfeld stated that he heard the call for shots fired in North Braddock and the description of the involved vehicle. He stated that, while he was patrolling, he saw a vehicle fitting the description of the involved vehicle while he was positioned at the intersection of Main Street and Center Avenue. As the suspect vehicle passed his location, he pulled in behind it, but there was another vehicle between his vehicle and the suspect vehicle. He could see the rear windshield had sustained gunshot damage.
As he approached the intersection of Center Street and Grandview Avenue, the other vehicle moved and Officer Rosfeld was able to get directly behind the suspect vehicle. He then called in the plate on the vehicle to police dispatch personnel.
Officer Rosfeld explained that, as he turned onto Grandview Avenue, he determined the vehicle he was following could be the vehicle involved in the North Braddock shooting. He initiated a traffic stop by turning on the emergency lights on his vehicle and hitting the siren a couple of times. The vehicle pulled to the side of the road near the East Pittsburgh Senior Citizen center. He believed there were three occupants of the car, but stated he could not see clearly into the vehicle to know where the occupants’ hands were. Officer Rosfeld believed there was a driver, a front seat passenger, and a back seat passenger on the passenger side. Officer Rosfeld explained that he called out on the police radio that he was conducting a felony stop.
Officer Rosfeld went on to say that he the exited his vehicle, drew his weapon, and began to give commands to the driver of the vehicle. He did this in accordance with what he thought to be “felony traffic stop” protocol. He stated that he did not know how far away his backup officers were, so he planned on getting all the occupants out of the car and putting them prone on the ground until backup arrived.
Officer Rosfeld stated that, after he ordered the driver out and had him prone, but before he could turn his attention to the other occupants, the front seat passenger exited the vehicle. He said this person turned his hand toward Officer Rosfeld and he, Officer Rosfeld, saw something dark that he perceived as a gun. This observation caused him to step from behind the cover of his car door to acquire a better view. He then fired his weapon. At the same time, a second person fled the vehicle from the passenger side.
At the conclusion of Rosfeld’s statement, the detectives asked him to go over the sequence of events one more time. During that rendition, Rosfeld told the detectives that he did not see a gun when the passenger emerged and ran. When confronted with this inconsistency, Rosfeld stated he saw something in the passenger’s hand but was not sure what it was. In addition, Officer Rosfeld stated that he was not certain if the individual who had his arm pointed at him was still pointing at him when he fired the shots.
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