JPSO: Off-duty cop who shot 14-year-old in head thought cell phone was muzzle flash

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METAIRIE – The off-duty police officer who shot a 14-year-old boy in the head mistook a cell phone’s flashlight for a muzzle flash, according to new details released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred in the 4800 block of Grammar Avenue around 3:10 a.m. on April 17.

William Daniel Short, who the JPSO has identified as “a currently-employed law enforcement officer from the metropolitan New Orleans area,” armed himself and headed outside when he heard a car alarm. Short encountered a group of teens and confronted them.

At some point during the confrontation, the 14-year-old victim received a call on his cell phone, which he was holding in his hand. The victim had a feature turned on that activated the phone’s flashlight during an incoming call, according to the JPSO.

Mistaking the flash from the phone for a muzzle flash, Short fired one shot, striking the boy in the head. When he approached the victim, he realized the item in his hand was a cell phone, and immediately began rendering first aid, according to the JPSO.

The teen was in the vicinity of Short’s house after he and several other teenage friends took an unauthorized joyride in a vehicle that belonged to one of the teen’s parents. The group parked the vehicle a short distance away from the home of the vehicle’s owner, which happened to be right in front of Short’s home.

The teens split up, with some, including the victim, exiting the parked vehicle and heading down the street. The teens who remained inside the vehicle activated the vehicle’s alarm, alerting Short, according to the JPSO.

No charges have been filed so far. The investigation remains open. Officers will consult with the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office to determine if charges are warranted, according to the JPSO.

The 14-year-old victim remains hospitalized.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or relevant video footage is asked to contact the JPSO Investigations Bureau at (504) 364-5300 or contact Crimestoppers.

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