Florida Cops Won't Be Charged in Death of 16-Year-Old, Names Withheld From Public Record

Officers involved in the October 16 shooting of Alexander King will not be charged, as authorities determined their action was a justifiable homicide on Monday.

King, 16, was pointing what turned out to be an air rifle at passing cars in Tarpon Springs when police officers were called. King pointed the rifle at the first police responder, and he repeatedly refused officers' orders to put down the weapon. The airsoft rifle appeared to be a deadly weapon except for a "faded orange tip" that officers could not distinguish from a distance, according to Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney Bruce Bartlett.

Two of the officers said they were afraid King was going to shoot them or someone else, so they shot him four times. King was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.

The names of the two officers who shot King, along with five other officers at the scene, will not be released because of their right to remain anonymous under Florida's Marsy's Law.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Airsoft Rifle
Officers involved in the Oct. 16 shooting of Alexander King will not be charged, as authorities determined their action was justifiable homicide on Monday. Militia members return fire during an ambush as they practice a two person patrol using airsoft rifles that resemble their AR-15 weapons, as part of their training exercises in the woods of southern New Hampshire on October 25, 2020. Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images

Cellphone video taken by a witness corroborates the officers' account, the letter said: It shows King pulling the slide back and charging the rifle.

The letter also details the teen's troubled history, including multiple incidents of battery involving students, employees and school resource officers.

In 2019, he was removed from Tarpon Springs High School due to a sheriff's office threat assessment. The report said he was seen drawing pictures of knives, guns, German soldiers and swastikas, and he seemed to enjoy the uneasiness his behavior caused some students.

King had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression and bipolar disorder, and he had been hospitalized against his will for mental health reasons seven times. He also previously confronted police—while carrying knives—and was subdued with non-lethal pepper balls.

His sister, Kelly Greenawald, apologized in a Facebook post to anyone King may have scared, but she believes he never intended to hurt anyone. She said he had battled mental illness since he was 3, a year after being adopted, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

She told investigators that King was upset on the evening of October 16 and left home after threatening to kill himself, the letter said.