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Family of teen killed in confrontation with police question officers’ actions

"I miss my son so much

By Annie Rose Ramos

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WJZ) — “I miss my son so much,” cried Danielle Brown, mother of Donnell Rochester.

In an interview with WJZ, Rochester’s family described their devastation after the 18-year-old’s death on February 19.

Baltimore Police pulled Rochester over for an open arrest warrant. First, he tried to flee on foot. Then, he got back into his car. Body camera video released by Baltimore City Police shows Rochester attempting to drive away and accelerating toward Officer Connor Murray. The footage shows officers begin to shoot at the car as it accelerated in his direction, striking Rochester.

In the footage, police provide medical assistance to Rochester as he cried for help. “help me,” he said. Twenty seconds later, he said it again, “help me.”

“Begging for them to help him, to see blood beside his body in handcuffs, how can you stand there as a human? And not want to help my son? How?” said a tearful Brown.

Rochester was pronounced dead later that day at a local hospital.

“It was terrifying to watch the video where they just waited and waited and waited,” said attorney Billy Murphy.

The family’s attorneys are now asking why police didn’t rush him to the hospital themselves after their body cam video shows it took about nine minutes before a stretcher arrived on the scene.

“Why didn’t they drive to Johns Hopkins literally around the corner?” Murphy asked.

Malcolm Ruff, another attorney for the Rochester family, asks why police decided on opening fire in the first place.

“You don’t shoot at moving vehicles unless someone is shooting at you, you don’t escalate the situation,” Ruff said.

“My son was terrified,” Brown said.

Rochester’s stepfather, Charles Melchior, who helped to raise him for the past 14 years, said their family wants justice.

But as a mother, Brown has a message to other mothers who are concerned for the safety of their children: “Move. Get away from Baltimore City.”

The shooting is also being investigated by Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office, as they do any time there is a police shooting.

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