(SAN FRANCISCO) – A San Francisco mother whose son was arrested in the Tanforan Mall shooting says police have the wrong kid. The 14-year-old teenager is the youngest and one of four suspects arrested, so far, by San Bruno police.
Jermine, who declined to provide her last name, said her son was the one seen in a surveillance video released by the police running and falling to the ground. She said one bullet went through her child’s leg, breaking the femur.
“They arrested him. He was barely able to walk. You know, he’s a 14-year-old kid. He just turned 14,” said Jermine.
San Bruno Police arrested the teen on July 18th, just a few days after his release from the hospital. He was booked in the San Mateo County Youth Services Center on suspicion of attempted murder and conspiracy.
“He’s a victim in this situation. How did they turn around and say he’s a suspect? They know my son didn’t have anything. He didn’t have nothing, “said Jermine.
Detectives don’t believe the 14-year-old teen was a shooter, but they think he helped one of the two shooters and took part in the shootout. Jermine said her son is not in a gang and isn’t involved in this kind of reckless behavior.
“My son’s never cut school. He just graduated from the 8th grade.”
She said her son met some of the kids in the first group in June through a summer youth program. They became friends and decided to shop at the Tanforan Mall on July 2.
Police say that was when two groups of kids got into an argument, which led to the shootout.
“He had cookies in his hand. He said he popped the cookies in his mouth and all hell broke out,” said Jermine.
She said her son ran after hearing gunfire. Once he was shot, she said Good Samaritan U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Marl applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
“I just really appreciate him helping my son. I really do for helping saving my son’s life. I tried to get in contact with him at the mall last Sunday. But they were closed.
“Thank you so much,” said Jermine, crying.
She said San Bruno detectives so far have not interviewed her son to get his side of the story. She said investigators tried to interview him when he was still in the hospital, but medical staff turned them away since they were trying to stabilize him.
Jermine said she doesn’t want her son to speak to investigators or testify in court, fearing the other kids will go after him.
“Fear of retaliation, and I don’t want my son involved any further. And in fact, I’m trying to move,” said Jermine.
She hopes a judge will throw out the charges when her son gets a hearing.