Former Philadelphia Officer Pleads Guilty in 12-Year-Old’s Killing Case

A former Philadelphia police officer who killed a 12-year-old child and allegedly fired two shots during a foot chase after the boy dropped his pistol pleaded guilty to murder on Friday, according to authorities.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced that Edsaul Mendoza, 28, has pled guilty to third-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime in the death of Thomas “TJ” Siderio on March 1, 2022.

“Justice must be fair-handed. “Everyone must be held accountable under the law,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement.

A potential sentence was not given. The sentencing was planned for July 22.

Mendoza was sacked by the Philadelphia Police Department and charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and possession of a criminal instrument in May 2022.

Former Philadelphia Officer Pleads Guilty in 12-Year-Old's Killing Case

According to a court document, Mendoza and three other police, who were on duty but dressed in plain clothes, stopped Siderio and his 17-year-old companion while riding bikes around 7:30 p.m. after recognising the 17-year-old as “tangentially connected” to a stolen gun case.

The lights on the unmarked police car were activated, and a shot was fired, breaking the passenger side window.

The boys ran and split up. Mendoza pursued Siderio, who was carrying a gun at the time, on foot, according to the grand jury record.

Prosecutors said Mendoza fired three shots, the final two after Siderio had abandoned the revolver. The final and deadly shot was fired from roughly 10 feet away, according to the grand jury report.

The gun Siderio threw was later discovered, and the grand jury determined that he most likely shot a Taurus 9mm handgun at the unmarked car prior to the tragic pursuit.

Siderio was shot in the back while unarmed and died within 90 seconds, according to the grand jury document.

When Siderio was slain, he “had certainly stopped running and was possibly surrendering,” according to the report.

Krasner termed the foot chase as “tactically unsound” and the boy’s death as tragic.

When Siderio was hit by the third shot, he either fell or plunged to the ground, according to the grand jury report. If Mendoza believed the youngster was armed, the tactically right thing to do would have been to take cover and approach, but Mendoza did not do so and sprinted up the street entirely exposed, the report states.

PO Mendoza’s approach to Thomas Siderio was then completely inconsistent with P0 Mendoza believing that Thomas Siderio was armed,” the grand jury stated in its report.

Mendoza’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message left for comment after work hours Friday evening.


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