A sheriff’s deputy in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, fatally shot a 14-year-old boy who may or may not have been armed.
Cameron Tillman, a freshman at Ellender High School, died at the scene around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday and a gun was reportedly found “in close proximity” to his body. State police are now investigating his death.
The deputy was allegedly responding to a call that several armed suspects were robbing an abandoned house in East Houma. Three other suspects were reportedly inside the home. Two minors and an 18-year-old were arrested. State Police Troop C spokesman Evan Harrell told Houma Today that charges are pending against them but wouldn’t say what those charges are.
“Now they haven’t elaborated on exactly how a robbery could have been taking place in an abandoned house, but that’s what we’re being told at this time,” WVUE reporter Meg Gatto said Tuesday.
"As a citizen, I am outraged," neighbor Felisha Williams told WVUE. "I believe that they could have apprehended the child without killing the child. That is my belief. I think that they have been through extensive training that they can go and get him without killing."
Tillman, who lived nearby, was described as a “tremendous athlete” and “a fun-loving, good boy” by friends and family, who gathered to mourn the teen Tuesday night.
“He had heard all the hype about high school and just wanted to concentrate on his grades for the first year,” said family friend Michael Lagarde, who teaches at Ellender.
“He stayed out of trouble. He was just a good kid,” said Josh Miles, Tillman's cousin. “I told the sheriff that as scared as he was, he'd never point anything at anybody.”
"I look at him as one of my sons," Legarde added. "It's a shame. This was a good kid, never caused any trouble."
Officers said the deputy involved in the shooting is African-American and a 7-year member of the patrol division and a member of the SWAT team, WVUE reported. He has no previous disciplinary infractions during his or her career with the Sheriff's Office, according to Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's spokeswoman Dawn Foret.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Derek Bridges, HoumaToday.com/Benjamin Oliver Hicks