Pittsburgh, PA -- A family is now grieving after a home invasion left their beloved Christopher Mark Thompkins dead. The burglar, however, was not the one to kill Thompkins — the police who responded to the 9-1-1 call did.
“They shot the wrong guy,” said Brenda Thompkins, 51, of Penn Hills.
Early Sunday morning, Brenda and Christopher Thompkins were asleep in bed when they awoke to the sound of an intruder. Brenda, who is a licensed gun owner, handed over her pistol to Thompkins who pursued the would-be attacker through the house.
The couple was upstairs and all Christopher could think about, according to Brenda, was to get downstairs to save his mother.
“He was just saying, ‘My mom, my mom,'” Brenda Thompkins said. “That's all he was worrying about.”
When Christopher got downstairs, he encountered Juan Brian Jetter-Clark, 23, who had broken into their home. Fearing for he and his mother's safety, Thompkins opened fire on Jetter-Clark. He missed.
Just as Thompkins was opening fire, however, two patrol officers showed up responding to the family's burglar alarm. Thinking Thompkins was shooting at them, police opened fire on Thompkins, killing him.
Meanwhile, Brenda was on the phone with 9-1-1, and hiding onto a roof behind the home.
After hearing the gunshots, Brenda said police came up and got her off the roof.
“I heard ‘boom, boom, boom,’ I didn’t know it was the cops,” she said. “I turned around and ran away, and I jumped out the window on the roof. When the police came in, I was gonna jump [from the roof], but the police told me, ‘Don’t jump.’ I was screaming, ‘I’m a victim. Don’t shoot me. I’m on the phone with 911.’ ”
When she came downstairs, she saw Christopher dead under a blanket and Jetter-Clark in handcuffs on the sofa. Police had killed the wrong person.
Police claimed they thought Thompkins was shooting at them. However, Brenda refutes that story, noting that she saw where Thompkins was shooting.
“I could see Mark shoot down the stairs at the guy. The cops came, and they shot through the door. Mark was shooting at the robber, not the cops,” she said.
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“He didn't want to hurt no cops. He was trying to save his mother,” Brenda said.
Jetter-Clark was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.
As per police protocol, both of the officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave. They will also be given 48 hours before they are asked any questions by investigators — also part of protocol.
“There is an ongoing investigation with oversight of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office,” Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. “Additional information will be released by the Bureau at the appropriate time.”
Adding suspicion to the events that unfolded that night, police removed Thompkins' screen door as supposed evidence.
According to TribLive, Police removed for evidence a front screen door that had six to eight holes in it. It was unclear whether the holes were the result of the shooting. There were no holes in the front door, which remained attached to the house after police removed the screen door.
Instead of simply photographing the door and moving on, the entire door was removed and taken by police. What was so important on the door that it had to be taken? Did it show all the bullets fired were from the police weapons or the same caliber as the police weapons?
Sadly, police officers, in the heat of the moment, often shoot the wrong person.
Indianapolis Metropolitan police responded to a 9-1-1 call about an armed robbery early last August. When IMPD officers showed up, however, they shot the first person they saw -- the innocent homeowner.
In only a matter of minutes, a woman went from being in shock after being robbed at gunpoint, to praying that her husband survives the holes put in him by police bullets.
Dispatched to the wrong house on a burglary call less than a year ago, a DeKalb County officer shot a homeowner and a fellow officer. A dog was also killed in the needless shooting.
Responding to a 911 call in June, Henry County, GA police arrived at the wrong house and shot the innocent homeowner in the neck.
In a travesty of justice, a Henry County grand jury decided that the cop who went to the wrong house responding to a 911 call and killed the homeowner, an innocent father of three, will not be charged.
Unfortunately, Christopher Thompkins is now on that list.