(Reuters) - Police in Pasadena, California, have asked the FBI to review the shooting death of an unarmed black college student by two white officers.
Kendrec McDade, 19, was fatally shot on March 24 after police received a 911 call about an armed robbery. Officers responded and saw McDade and a second teenager, and when the two suspects split up, they chased McDade and shot him when they thought he was reaching for a gun.
Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a statement posted Thursday on the department’s website that he had asked the FBI to consider reviewing the shooting.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation offers another independent level of review,” he said in the statement.
The shooting is already under investigation by the department, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office as well as the county’s Office of Independent Review.
The issue of the shooting deaths of black teenagers has intensified with the February killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman has not been charged.
The Pasadena incident began when a 911 caller reported he had been robbed by two people with handguns. The caller followed the pair in his car while talking to police on his cell phone, according to police.
The two split, running in different directions, with two officers followed McDade. When they saw the suspect’s hands at his belt, they opened fire. McDade was unarmed.
McDade, a Citrus College student, died at a hospital. The second suspect, a 17-year-old black male, was arrested and charged in the robbery.
Police have arrested the 911 caller for falsely reporting an armed robbery and charged him with involuntary manslaughter. The caller told officers he wanted to speed up the police response so said his assailants were armed, police said in a statement.
An FBI spokesman was not immediately available to comment. The two officers involved in the shooting death have been put on paid leave.
Editing by Philip Barbara