RENO, Nev. (AP) - About 100 classmates, friends and family of a 14-year-old Reno boy who was shot by a school district police officer marched to the district headquarters Wednesday afternoon to protest the use of lethal force on the high school campus.
Demick La Flamme, the father of a friend of the hospitalized boy, led the 2-mile march and delivered a petition to school officials demanding campus officers carry Tasers and pepper spray.
Police say the teen was threatening others with knives when he was shot in the chest Dec. 7 while surrounded by dozens of students in a school courtyard. He last was reported in critical but stable condition.
The boy’s lawyer, David Houston, said earlier he was in a medically induced coma after undergoing surgery for a stroke on Friday.
District officials have refused to say if campus officers typically carry non-lethal weapons. They say they can’t comment while an investigation continues into the officer-involved shooting that many Hug High School students captured on cellphone video and posted on social media.
Cheryl Pitchford, the boy’s mother, joined La Flamme and more than a dozen others who jammed into the reception area at the school district headquarters Wednesday afternoon to demand someone formally accept the petition.
Pitchford showed school officials a cellphone photo of her son with an oxygen mask and other tubes in a hospital bed while pleading for Washoe County School District Superintendent Traci Davis to come forward and better explain what had happened.
Davis said at a news conference a day after the shooting that the school’s emergency response plans worked flawlessly and praised the officers’ “who acted swiftly to protect the safety of our students.” She’s had no comment since she said in a statement Friday that she believes “the officer’s judgment saved other students from deadly force.”
Pitchford, whose last name is different than that of her son, said Wednesday she was not seeking an apology from the superintendent.
“She wasn’t there. It’s not her fault,” Pitchford said. “It’s her fault for not coming out and saying maybe that there was another way, or maybe it was not flawless - like she said in her news conference or whatever she had. Because she wasn’t there. She didn’t know.”
Irene Payne, the school district’s chief of communications who accepted the petition from La Flamme and Pitchford, told The Associated Press she couldn’t immediately comment on district police regarding the equipment campus officers typically carry.
Eds note: This story corrects an earlier version that misspelled the last name of the boy’s mother as Pickford. It is Pitchford.
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