TJ Siderio shooting: Former Philadelphia police officer held on all charges in shooting death of 12-year-old

A former Philadelphia police officer accused of fatally shooting a young boy earlier this year will head to trial on all charges, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Former officer Edsaul Mendoza is facing multiple charges including first-degree murder, third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly shooting of 12-year-old Thomas "TJ" Siderio.

Investigators say four plainclothes officers in an unmarked car were patrolling the area near the 1700 block of Barbara Street around 7 p.m. on March 1 when they spotted two juveniles on bikes. 


According to investigators, officers noticed that one of the juveniles was armed with a handgun and turned on the emergency lights to confront him. As police were getting out of the car, the armed juvenile, identified as Siderio, fired a shot at the passenger's side window and narrowly missed the officers.

Two of the officers returned gunfire, hitting Siderio in the chest, authorities say. 

Siderio died after being rushed to Presbyterian Hospital, according to police. 

On March 9, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the officer violated the department's use of force directive in the shooting and she suspended the officer for 30 days with intent to dismiss. 

"I have made the decision to utilize Commissioner’s Direct Action to suspend Officer #1 with the intent to dismiss the officer at the end of 30 days due to violations of our use of force directive," Outlaw said.

After Siderio allegedly fired the first shot, Mendoza followed Siderio in what District Attorney Larry Krasner called a "tactically unsound foot chase." 

According to Krasner, another officer fired his weapon "at no target in particular" and Mendoza fired his weapon three times, once where the foot chase began, a second time in the middle of Barbara Street and a third time while standing on the sidewalk and "relatively close to Thomas Siderio." He also said at the time Mendoza fired the last two shots, Siderio was unarmed because he had dropped the gun 40 feet behind him. 

Krasner says immediately after the shooting, Mendoza told another officer that Siderio threw the gun and pointed back to the area where he began chasing the boy.

"TJ was asked to drop the gun. He did that 40 feet back," attorney Andrew Duffey said. "He was asked to get down. He did so. And it's so painful to learn today he was lying down, face into the sidewalk, trying to look back and he was executed in cold blood."