Louisiana teenager shot, killed by police officer

Josh Dean

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On Sept. 23, 14-year-old Cameron Tillman in Terrebonne Parish was shot and killed by a police officer in the 0-100 block of Kirkglen Loop in Houma’s Village East neighborhood. 

The police officer who fired the shots was responding along with other sheriff’s deputies to a 911 call in which it was reported armed individuals were running into a house.

 The deputy opened the door after allegedly announcing, “Sheriff’s Office, come out.” The door was opened by Tillman who was brandishing and pointing a BB gun. 

The officer said that he, “feared for his life”, and fired four shots into the victim shortly before 6 P.M. that day

 This account is sharply disputed by the friends of Tillman that were in the house that day and their family members. They said that the police officer did not announce himself as law enforcement and that when Tillman opened the door the officer immediately began to fire his gun. 

One of Tillman’s friends slammed the door shut after the first shots were fired but the officer continued to shoot through the door despite Tillman’s cries of, “I’ve been shot.” 

Victoria Oden has been keeping track of the events unfurling around the death of Michael Brown.

“When I first heard about this I was disgusted. It almost has to do with discrimination, but theres no way to know for sure,” said Oden, a senior English major.

Oden said that it seems that many police officers are trigger happy. Oden also said that many seemed to judge based on appearance.

“They judge you based on how you look. They judged a friend of mine with tattoos before,” Oden said.

While shopping in the mall, Oden’s friend was confronted by police officers due to the gun he carried in a hip holster. 

“He had a license to carry and was very calm throughout the altercation, but they came in with their hands on their guns. I wondered if they were going to shoot first and ask questions later. They ended up calling his dad, who is also a police officer,” Oden said.

Oden believes that on-officer cameras will go a long way to stopping officer brutality.

“They should be monitored by cameras, it helps when you know you’re being watched. It’s what keeps citizens from breaking the law,” Oden said.

While never discriminated against personally, Oden said that she will continue to fight for the equality of all.

Hilary Solet, a senior political science major believes these matters should be handled delicately.

“Officers should only be allowed to use deadly force when there are life-threatening situations for themselves or victims,” Solet said. 

The officers were not wearing body-cameras, but Sheriff Larpenter said they were looking to acquire them for all officers in the department by year’s end. 

 Larpenter has said, “We took a lot of criticism early on about this being another Ferguson… This isn’t another Ferguson.” 

Quientinn Smith, a senior political science major believes there is some injustice in the police system.

 “African Americans seem to be targeted more by the police than other races seem to. This is what has caused some to lose trust in law enforcement and the justice system,” Smith said.