DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County police are now saying that a 14-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Lithonia was NOT attempting to rob two people when they shot him.
Police initially said Ricarrio Hale, a freshman at Miller Grove High School in Stonecrest, was killed Sunday at the Aladdin Townhomes as he and a friend tried to steal a cellphone from a seller they met online.
Hale was shot in the chest and died at the scene. His 16-year-old friend, who has not been identified, was shot in the arm and is expected to survive.
On Sunday night, Hale’s family reached out to Channel 2 Action News to dispute reports Hale was involved in the robbery.
Police now say it was his friend who snatched the phone and ran, and that Hale did not know his friend intended to steal the phone.
The two shooters are in custody, but their identities have not been released. So far, they have not been charged.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was in Lithonia Sunday afternoon, where stunned relatives were hysterical at the scene as Hale’s body was taken away. Seiden spoke to family members before police revealed the boys may not have been completely innocent victims.
Seiden talked to Hale’s brother, Shamdarius Echols, who said his brother was a good kid who was one of 11 siblings and loved to play basketball and football.
“He’s not a bad kid. He’s friendly. He likes to play games. He plays sports and is a really good kid,” Echols said.
Family members initially told Seiden they believed the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. They have since reached out to Channel 2 Action News to dispute police accounts that Hale was involved in robbery.
Police told Seiden that this tragedy is an important reminder of why it’s important for anyone who is buying or selling items in person to do it at a safe location.
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