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Police: Lack of bicycle light led to eventual shooting of 18-year-old

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 18:33:42-04

New details have been revealed into what led a Mount Pleasant police officer to shoot and kill a young man early Saturday morning.

Racine Police, who are leading the investigation, tell TODAY’S TMJ4 the incident started because 18-year-old Tyrese West didn’t have a light on his bicycle.

It was just after 1:30 Saturday morning when police say a Mount Pleasant officer tried to stop West who was riding a bike near Racine and 24th streets without a light. Police considered it a safety concern, and also suspicious, saying there have been a number of vehicle thefts in the area recently.

West got off his bike on 25th Street just past a U-Haul rental business, and then ran west across Racine Street into a grassy area by a fence.

The officer chased after him and that’s when the officer says he noticed West was armed with a gun.

Police said West ignored commands and that “less lethal efforts were used to address the threat,” but proved unsuccessful, leading the officer to shoot West.

At this time police aren’t releasing details on those “less lethal efforts” or what transpired, but they said the whole incident lasted only minutes.

Court documents reveal West was currently on probation and that in the past year he was found guilty of misdemeanor theft, along with negligent driving, false imprisonment and stealing his grandmother's car.

He was also charged with resisting an officer and disorderly conduct last August when Racine police were checking on kids who were out after the city curfew, and he allegedly refused to follow orders. This case remained open.

Despite his past record and what happened Saturday — loved ones and community members don’t feel he had to die.

Sunday night more than 100 family, friends and community members came together to remember his life at a vigil.

"He was trying to make a change and he was being very positive, and it hurts me to know that I don't get to see him anymore,” West’s cousin, Lasadiez West said.

They’re seeking justice, and demanding more answers from police.

“If somebody’s running away from you they are not causing a threat to you,” West’s father, Dwight Person said. "They shouldn't be able to fire their weapon to take somebody's life until they're fired at.”

If you have any information about what happened you're asked to call the Racine Police Department at 262-635-7756.