- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An off-duty D.C. police officer fatally shot a 14-year-old boy Monday while searching for a minibike that the officer thought had been stolen from his home, Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.

When the officer learned of the apparent burglary at his home in Southeast on Monday evening, he got into his personal car with another off-duty officer to drive around the area and see whether he could find the missing bike, Chief Lanier said at a press conference yesterday outside police headquarters.

A few blocks away, the officers spotted a teenager on the minibike and pulled up in the car to question him, she said.

The teenager began shooting at the officers, who were not in uniform, Chief Lanier said. One bullet hit the officer’s car about a foot below the window. The officer whose bike was missing returned fire, striking the teen in the head, she said.

The officer did not have a chance to identify himself before the shots were fired, Chief Lanier said.

The officer, whose name was not released, is a 22-year veteran of the D.C. police department. He was placed on routine administrative leave.

The victim, identified by police as Deonte Rawlings, was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital.

It is not standard procedure for a police officer to investigate a break-in of his own home, Chief Lanier said. It was not clear whether the officers notified authorities that they were investigating the burglary while off-duty.

The gun the officers said the boy used was not immediately recovered, Chief Lanier said yesterday, explaining that there was a lot of chaos at the scene and that someone might have picked it up.

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