Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw on Wednesday questioned how "we as a society" failed a 12-year-old boy who was killed Tuesday night after a vehicle with police officers inside was fired upon.
"Last night, a young child with a gun in their hand purposely fired a weapon at our officers and by miracle, none of the officers suffered life-threatening injuries," Outlaw tweeted. "However, the life of a young man was cut tragically short, and we should all be questioning how we as a society have failed him and so many other young people like him."
Fours plainclothes officers assigned to a task force were traveling near 18th and Johnston streets in an unmarked car when they saw two males on a corner, authorities said Wednesday. One of them, a 17-year-old, was wanted for questioning in connection with a gun investigation, police said.
The officers turned on the police lights and drove down the street when they heard gunfire and glass shatter from the rear passenger window. One officer was struck by glass shards in the face and eyes, police said.
The officers in the driver's and front passenger seat got out of the car and opened fire on the boy, who was identified as Thomas Siderio. He had a firearm and tried fleeing the scene, police said.
During a chase, an officer fired two more times, striking Siderio in the upper right back. One bullet exited him from the left side of his chest, authorities said.
He was taken to a hospital by police where he died. The officer injured by the glass was treated and released from a hospital. Authorities said they could not definitively say who shot at the car, citing the investigation was still in its early stages.
That conflicts with Outlaw's statement that indicated Siderio shot at the officers.
The weapon he allegedly used was recovered and was found to be equipped with a laser sight. It was reported stolen and had one round in the chamber and five rounds in the magazine, police said.
The round that struck the unmarked police vehicle went through the glass of the rear passenger window, struck the inner door frame, and became lodged in the passenger's headrest.
The teenage boy originally wanted for questioning in the gun investigation was questioned and released.
Joe Sullivan, the former deputy commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department, said younger criminal suspects have become more brazen as crime continues to spike.
"The lack of consequences for actions certainly is emboldening people younger and younger to not understand that bad actions need to have consequences," he told Fox News. "If you're not afraid to shoot at the police, what chance does the average citizen have?"