RANKIN, Pa. (AP) — The mother of a black teenager fatally shot by a white police officer outside Pittsburgh told supporters at a vigil that she was glad to see her son’s life celebrated at a place that meant so much to him.
Michelle Kenney, mother of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II, joined friends of supporters at a vigil Sunday afternoon at the basketball court in the Hawkins Village housing complex in Rankin, where she lives.
“This was definitely his spot right here,” Kenney said. “If you was looking for Antwon, you’d find him on the basketball court.”
Supporters, she said, put the event together while she was sleeping.
“I haven’t slept in I don’t know how long,” she said. “And after the verdict was read, I literally went home and I collapsed.”
Several dozen people brought red roses, which they placed on the court, as well as purple ribbons, white flowers and white candles. A poem written by Rose was read, and participants sang “What side are you on my people? What side are you on?” They then joined their hands in prayer.
“We honor the life of this young man…and I pray to God that the young black men in this circle are viewed as young men,” said Nathaniel Carter, a North Braddock resident from Amplify Church who was one of the men leading the vigil.
Former East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld had been charged with homicide in the shooting of Rose last summer. A jury acquitted him after less than four hours of deliberation. Hours after the verdict, gunshots were fired into the law office of his attorney, and the following day hundreds marched in Pittsburgh to protest the outcome of the case.
A prayer vigil scheduled Sunday night at a church in Pittsburgh’s Hill District was to include prayers and singing, according to a flyer sent by organizers.