Metairie, LA — In April, the town of Metairie, Louisiana was shocked when hearing about a deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office shooting a 14-year-old boy in the head. In the original story, we were told that deputy William Daniel Short confronted a group of children in his yard and defended himself. However, as more details emerged, we are now realizing that is not exactly what happened.
Previous coverage of the incident refused to name Short and identified him only as “a currently-employed law enforcement officer from the metropolitan New Orleans area.”
Short was off-duty at the time and original versions of the story claimed that his car alarm was going off, so he went outside to confront the would-be thieves. He feared there may have been “criminal activity” occurring, so he grabbed a gun, headed outside, and ordered three people he saw to stop where they were.
Scared they were about to be shot, two of the children ran off, but one 14-year-old boy remained. During the confrontation, he then shot the unidentified boy in the head.
We have since learned that there was no physical altercation and the child was shot while unarmed, not attacking anyone, and holding his cellphone. To be clear, the children were out past curfew at 3:10 a.m. However, they were not breaking into cars as the original media reports made it out to be. Instead, they were in one of their own parent’s cars and it was the alarm in their parent’s car that was going off — not Short’s.
As a report from KLFY this week points out:
At some point during the confrontation, the 14-year-old victim received a call on his cell phone, which he was holding in his hand. The victim had a feature turned on that activated the phone’s flashlight during an incoming call, according to the JPSO.
Mistaking the flash from the phone for a muzzle flash, Short fired one shot, striking the boy in the head. When he approached the victim, he realized the item in his hand was a cell phone, and immediately began rendering first aid, according to the JPSO.
The teen was in the vicinity of Short’s house after he and several other teenage friends took an unauthorized joyride in a vehicle that belonged to one of the teen’s parents. The group parked the vehicle a short distance away from the home of the vehicle’s owner, which happened to be right in front of Short’s home.
The teens split up, with some, including the victim, exiting the parked vehicle and heading down the street. The teens who remained inside the vehicle activated the vehicle’s alarm, alerting Short, according to the JPSO.
The idea that you can mistake a phone light for a gun shot is nonsensical. While gun shots are accompanied by muzzle flashes and are especially brighter at night, they are also accompanied by extremely loud sounds that are unmistakable. Did Short really believe the teen shot a silent round at him? We don’t believe it.
This 14-year-old boy was arguably one of the best behaved kids in the group as he stayed instead of running, to accept what was coming to him. Sadly, however, he would be shot in the head for this decision. Both short and the 14-year-old boy are white.
The boy was hospitalized for weeks after the shooting and his current condition is unknown as he’s yet to be identified. Also, there have yet to be any charges filed against Short who has been on paid vacation since the shooting.
Before being hired at the JPSO, Short spent 14 years with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, attaining the rank of captain before being fired after a drug test discovered oxycodone and methamphetamine in his system.
This is the state of policing in America.