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Family of Chicago Teen: It Was a Police Shooting, Not Suicide

Relatives of Steven Rosenthal, 15, dispute official account that he shot himself
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2018 9:55 AM CDT
File photo of a crime scene in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford File)

(Newser) – A 15-year-old Chicago teen was shot to death last week, but the police and his family have very different accounts of what happened. Police say they spotted Steven Rosenthal with a gun Friday evening and gave chase on foot, reports the Chicago Tribune. During the chase, the teen used the gun to shoot himself in the head, police say. However, Rosenthal's family say he would never kill himself and accuse police of shooting him. "My nephew would never commit suicide, ever," says Terinica Thomas, his legal guardian, per the Chicago Sun-Times. The family is demanding that police turn over bodycam footage in the case, but a department spokesman says no decision has been made about that yet.

"Steven was on the stairwell of his grandmother's house on the West Side of Chicago when police officers stormed up the stairwell chasing," family attorney Andrew Stroth said Sunday, prior to a march in the teen's name, per the Tribune. "Within moments, these officers, without cause or provocation, shot and killed 15-year old Steven," he said, citing eyewitness accounts. The Cook County medical examiner, however, has ruled the death a suicide, and police insist that no officers opened fire. Rosenthal played basketball at Crane Medical Prep High School. His coach there tells the Sun-Times the teen's mother died earlier this year and his father died when he was 6. (Read more Chicago stories.)

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