Archer Amorosi, a 16-year-old high school athlete with mental health issues from Minnetonka, Minnesota, was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting after his mother called police to report he was suicidal.
An officer told a 911 dispatcher the youth “wants to go out like Bonnie and Clyde.” Now questions are being raised about the use of deadly force. Although authorities have not formally identified the victim, he was named as Minnetonka High School student Archer Amorosi by a family friend and his athletic team, according to KSTP-TV.
Amorosi was a well-liked football and lacrosse player in high school, and the community in Minnesota is reeling from his death. “@archeramorosi you always had my back whether it was on or off the field. Thank you for being there for me and everyone else you have impact over these last 16 year. You will be missed, rest easy bro, we all love you? #AStrong,” wrote one friend on Twitter. Minnetonka High School is located in a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Two officers fired their guns: Cpl Jacob Hodge, an 18-year veteran of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, and Deputy Travis Larson, a two-year veteran. Cpl Josh Baker discharged his Taser, The Star Tribune reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Amorosi’s Mother Called Police to Report Her Son Was Threatening Her With Knives & a Baseball Bat, Authorities Say
The only reason police were at the scene in the first place: Amorosi’s mom called them for help.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) confirmed in a July 13, 2018 press release that it is investigating “an officer involved shooting incident that happened this morning in Chanhassen. The BCA is conducting the investigation and releasing information about the incident at the request of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.”
The release says the Carver County deputies were called to a home in the 6400 block of Oriole Ave. “following a 911 call at about 10 a.m. from a woman reporting her son was suicidal and was threatening her with knives and a baseball bat.”
Dispatch audio bears out this account, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, describing the 911 dispatcher as saying, “Male party has knives and a baseball bat. Mother is stating that he wants the officers to shoot him.”
The newspaper reported that the mother claimed he had “disabled the garage door, locking her inside the garage,” and quoted an officer as saying in the dispatch audio, “I was there yesterday. Dad said that he’s got some mental health issues. Has this idea that he wants to go out like Bonnie and Clyde.”
Officers were warned the teen might show them hostility, and the audio indicated the father knew only of an airsoft pellet gun being available on the property, the newspaper reported.
2. Authorities Say They Used a Taser First Before the Shooting
When Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene, they “encountered a 16-year-old male and deployed a Taser. At one point during the encounter, two Carver County deputies fired their weapons, striking the individual. He was pronounced deceased at the scene,” the release says.
It was not more specific as to the details of what led the officers to fire.
“One deputy was transported to 212 Medical Center in Chaska for non-life-threatening injuries. He was treated and released,” the release said, adding, “The BCA is in the process of gathering evidence and determining the facts of the incident. BCA agents are conducting interviews with witnesses and incident participants. Body cameras and dash cam video may have captured portions of the incident.”
The BCA will release additional details, including the names of the officers who discharged their weapons, once both of the officers have provided interviews, the agency said.
The dispatch audio obtained by the Star Tribune sheds additional light on what unfolded and describes a tense scene with the mother in the garage and Amorosi pacing around. It says the teen was described as holding a knife in one hand and “some kind of handgun” in the other, with an officer saying “he does continually point a handgun in my direction.” At another point, Amorosi was described as having “a hatchet and something in his hands.” Mental health services were called.
Responding agencies included the Carver County Sherriff’s Office, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, South Lake Minnetonka Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and Minnetrista Police Department.
The BCA’s investigation into the officer involved shooting is ongoing. “The BCA will conduct a thorough investigation and gather all of the evidence and then turn its findings over without recommendation to the Carver County Attorney’s Office for review,” the release stated.
According to the Star Tribune, Amorosi “went into a rage a day earlier after his parents took away his car, prompting a call to 911.”
3. Members of the Minnetonka Lacrosse Community Expressed Grief Over Amorosi’s Death
Amorosi played multiple sports, and he was known for his talents in lacrosse and football. You can see highlight videos of his play here, which included a 52-yard pass. The page says he played varsity football and was in the class of 2020.
Homegrown Lacrosse wrote a tribute to Amorosi on its Facebook page, saying, “Our hearts are heavy today. We’ve lost one of our own. Archer Amorosi, you are, were and always will be loved. Thank you for all that you gave to your family, the game, and our community.”
The page continued, “We pray that you rest in peace. We pray for your family. We pray for the Minnetonka Lacrosse Community and Minnesota Lacrosse Community at-large. We are here for anyone who needs to talk or help grieving. As you take the field this week please play for Archer and for healing.”
A man responded on the thread, “Amazing family – my sadness is overwhelming. Hug your kids. Tell them it will be better tomorrow. I know Archer’s mom did that every day.”
The only thing visible on Amorosi’s Facebook page was a photo of a basketball huddle. A second page contained only a football photo. On Twitter, Amorosi wrote mostly about athletics.
One woman expressed anger on Twitter, writing, “Imagine calling 911 for HELP because your 16 year old son is suicidal and they show up and KILL HIM! What a f*cking joke. Rest In Peace Archer Amorosi. What a tragedy.”
4. Archer Amorosi Was Remembered as a Well-Liked Teenager Always Giving People High Fives
Friends of Archer spoke to KTSP-TV in the wake of the death. One called Amorosi well-liked and “just really outgoing, happy kid always giving people high fives and stuff like that.” Some of the teen’s assignment slideshows are still online.
Another man told the television station that the teen was a “good kid.” A friend told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Amorosi was “loud and energetic.”
The Minnetonka High School Lacrosse team wrote on Twitter, “It is with a heavy heart that we have to say this, but unfortunately we lost one of our teammates today. Archer was a high energy, funny and loving kid who will always be remembered by this team and this community. Rest easy Archer, we will miss you incredibly and love you forever.”
The deputies are on administrative leave while the death is investigated, which is standard protocol. They have yet to be identified.
5. Archer’s Dad Served on the Golf Planning Committee
Minnetonka High School football coach Dave Nelson told KTSP-TV that Amorosi’s death “struck a lot of people here really hard.”
He said the family is embedded in the community, telling the television station, “Archer’s dad was a key person in the golf planning committee. We’d gotten to be very close, so a lot of people took it hard. I guess at this point it’s kind of surreal.”
According to KARE 11, a man who identified himself as Amorosi’s father father told the television station the teenager had mental health issues, and that his ex-wife called a crisis hotline before dialing the police.
“My ex-wife called them because they said if they came back they would take him in for an evaluation. They said wouldn’t ask questions,” the father said to the television station. “Instead, they killed him.”
In a blog posted online, one of Archer’s sisters described her brother’s anger and what she described as a “gruesome divorce” that affected the family, which had moved from Ohio to Minnesota. The mother’s Facebook page says she works as an event coordinator. The father’s LinkedIn page says he works as “a senior level managed care executive and pharmacy services professional in the healthcare industry.” Their divorce was finalized in 2012, according to court records.