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Philadelphia police reportedly facing death threats after officer-involved shooting of 12-year-old boy

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A lone police officer sits on a shuttered store front's steps near fellow officers during a citywide curfew on October 28, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

Philadelphia police say they will not immediately release the names of the officers involved in the deadly shooting of 12-year-old boy Thomas Siderio due to threats being made against the lives of the officers, according to KYW-TV. Although some local news outlets have allegedly identified the officers who were present, the department has not confirmed that those identifications are correct, nor identified the officer who fired the fatal shot.

What happened?

Police say that four plainclothes officers were conducting surveillance on Tuesday night in response to social media reports of potential gun crime in the area. While there, they encountered Siderio, along with an unidentified 17-year-old, who were riding bikes. Police say they noticed that Siderio was carrying a gun, and turned on the vehicle's lights. That's when they say that Siderio opened fire on the car. Investigators say that at least one of the bullets struck the car in which an officer was sitting, causing broken glass to lacerate his face.

Police say they responded by opening fire on the teens. One of the bullets fired by the officers struck Siderio in the back and ultimately killed him. Police recovered a 9mm handgun from the scene. They initially questioned the 17-year-old who was with Siderio but later released him.

Siderio, who was a seventh-grader, is the youngest person killed by Philadelphia police in decades, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, the mother of the 17-year-old who was present at the shooting claims that her son told her that the police did not activate their lights or identify themselves as police before shots were fired. She further says that the boys believed they were being attacked and fired at the car in self-defense.

She also added to KYW that Siderio was a troubled child who "had no chance in life" and lacked a father figure.

Police say that the investigation into the shooting death of Siderio and the threats being made against the officers are both ongoing. The names of the officers involved will be released to the public as soon as the investigation into the threats is complete.

"We understand the importance of transparency and remained committed to providing as many details as possible without compromising the integrity of the investigation. We expect to provide an additional update in the near future," said police commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

Philadelphia continues to struggle with a violent crime wave that has wracked the city. 2021 was a record-setting year for homicides in Philadelphia, and this year the city is on pace for an even worse total.

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