Police Chief Defends Detaining Teen’s Mother After Neighbor’s Fatal Shot

After a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed in front of his Milwaukee home last month, police forced his grieving mother to sit in a squad car for more than an hour rather than let her hold her dying son or join him at the hospital.

By Jorge Rivas Jun 14, 2012

A 75-year-old Milwaukee man[ immediately confessed to fatally shooting his 13-year-old neighbor](http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/06/milwaukee.html) when police arrived but the officers still detained the teen’s mother and forced her to sit in the police car for more than an hour rather than let her hold her dying son or join him at the hospital. Officers also searched through the mother’s home looking for stolen firearms (that were never found) and arrested her other son on a year-old truancy violation. [Associated Press has more details: ](http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/13/wis-police-chief-defends-handling-teen-death/#ixzz1xmStymrx)> The actions might have seemed harsh, Milwaukee police Chief Ed Flynn acknowledged Wednesday, but that’s an unfortunate aspect of homicide investigations — the detectives’ top priority is to gather facts, and compassion is only a secondary concern. > > Prosecutors say the boy, 13-year-old Darius Simmons, was outside his home May 31 when his 75-year-old neighbor confronted him about stolen firearms. When Simmons protested his innocence, John Henry Spooner shot him in the chest as Simmons’ mother watched, the criminal complaint said. > > Flynn said investigators get only one chance to collect evidence and interview witnesses at the scene. That means keeping witnesses apart to prevent them from talking, even family members who are mourning and want to be together, he said. > "None of it makes sense. My sister was treated like she was the suspect," Simmons’ uncle, Leon Larry told the AP. "And searching the house, it looked like they were trying to give the suspect a reason for what he did, an excuse for what he did. That’s garbage."