A Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy shot 14-year-old Jason Pero outside the boy’s home on Wednesday
Teen approached deputy with a large butcher knife and refused numerous commands to drop it, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice
Pero called 911 to report a man with a knife, but then gave emergency dispatchers a description of himself, according to authorities
The shooting occurred on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation, a sprawling wooded area about 300 miles north of Madison
Authorities said evidence shows the boy had been despondent in recent days – and that he had essentially committed ‘suicide by cop’
Pero’s relatives say the deputy, Brock Mrdjenovich, used excessive force and did not need to shoot him dead
An Ashland County sheriff’s deputy shot 14-year-old Jason Pero outside the boy’s home on Wednesday after the teenager approached the deputy with a large butcher knife and refused numerous commands to drop it, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
The shooting occurred on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation, a sprawling wooded area about 300 miles north of Madison.
Authorities said evidence shows the boy had been despondent in recent days – and that he had essentially committed ‘suicide by cop’.
Investigators said the boy twice lunged at Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich while the deputy was trying to retreat.
Mrdjenovich fired, hitting the boy twice, according to the Justice Department, which is investigating the incident.
Mrdjenovich, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for about a year, was interviewed by agency officials and is on paid administrative leave.
Investigators had previously released few details about what led up to the shooting, saying only that deputies were responding to a call about a male subject walking down the street with a knife around 11.40am.
Pero’s grandparents told The Associated Press on Friday that the boy, who lived with them, had come home from school with the flu Wednesday morning, but they didn’t know why he later left the home.
Authorities said a knife was found at the shooting scene.
The teen’s grandfather, Alan Pero, told the AP that he and his wife had raised the boy since he was a year old.
He said his grandson went to school Wednesday morning but came back to the house feeling nauseous.
The grandparents weren’t home, but Jason’s uncle was and said the boy was watching TV.
Pero, who was in the eighth grade, called 911 to report a man with a knife, but then gave emergency dispatchers a description of himself, investigators said Saturday
The uncle was downstairs doing laundry when the boy apparently left.
Pero said investigators searched the home, and the family discovered a dull butcher knife was missing.
The boy’s mother and other relatives have said they’re not convinced Jason had a knife.
His grandfather said that even if the boy did, ‘maybe he was carving, maybe he was doing something, but he’d never hurt a fly. Never in his life.’
Jason Pero’s cousin, Curtis Redbird, drove over 200 miles from his home in Black River Falls, Wisconsin to be with his grieving family after learning of the shooting.
‘Baby Jay he was a real sweet kid,’ he told KBJR-TV.
‘He always had a smile on his face it seemed like.
‘Nobody can believe that this happened to him because of the way that he is. The way that he was.’
Redbird said that the sheriff’s deputy involved in the shooting used excessive force.
‘He didn’t view him as a human, he viewed him as a hostile threat,’ Redbird said.
‘You know, honestly as an Indian.’
WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ISSUES FINDINGS
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), at the request of the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, has been investigating an officer involved death (OID) that took place on November 8, 2017 in Odanah, Wisconsin, which is located on the Bad River Reservation.
The Ashland County Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call reporting a male subject walking on Maple Street carrying a knife.
Ashland County Sheriff’s Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich responded to the scene and encountered a 5’9”, 300 pound male subject who fit the description given by the 911 caller.
The subject was later identified as 14-year-old Jason Ike Pero.
Pero approached Deputy Mrdjenovich with a large butcher knife and he refused numerous commands to drop the weapon.
On two occasions, Pero lunged at the deputy while the deputy was attempting to retreat.
Deputy Mrdjenovich fired his service weapon at Pero, striking him twice.
Life-saving measures were initiated however, Pero was pronounced dead at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland.
DCI has determined Jason Pero was the same person that called 911 reporting a man with a knife, giving his own physical description.
Initial information indicates that Pero had been despondent over the few days leading up to the incident and evidence from a search warrant executed on Pero’s bedroom supports that information.
Deputy Mrdjenovich has been interviewed by DOJ and is on paid administrative leave in accordance with Ashland County Sheriff’s Office’s policy.
Deputy Mrdjenovich has worked for the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office for approximately one year.
The family members of Jason Pero have been offered victim witness services by the DOJ Office of Crime Victim Services.
The Ashland County District Attorney’s office will receive the written reports following the conclusion of the investigation.
DCI aims to turn over all OID investigative reports to the prosecutor within 30 days of the incident.
The Wisconsin DOJ-led investigation of this incident has been a collaborative effort between DCI, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory.
The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office has been fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.