Father of Jaffa chase suspect killed by police says son was innocent

After riots over shooting Saturday, parent suggests cops mistook son for suspect because he was on scooter

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: An Israel Police patrol car. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Israel Police patrol car. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)

The father of a suspect who was shot dead by police during a vehicle chase through the streets of Jaffa following an earlier shooting said Sunday that his son was innocent and had been murdered.

A resident was shot and killed by policemen while allegedly fleeing the scene of a shooting at the city’s port in the early hours of Saturday.

As news of the shooting spread, riots erupted in the city, continuing during the funeral for the 22-year-old, whose name is not permitted for publication under a gag order.

Speaking to Army Radio after the shooting the bereaved father said his son was the victim of a mistaken identity.

“The police chased after my son, shot him and murdered him in cold blood,” said the father, who was identified only as Jamal.

“A boy with a scooter,” Jamal said. “In my opinion the [police] were chasing someone else, noticed him and shot him. He was not connected, perhaps they identified a scooter that was the same color, of perhaps he had the same body build, but my son was not connected to any shooting incident in Jaffa. He was not armed.”

“They chased after the boy and shot him at point-blank range,” he continued, and rejected as “lies” police claims that his son had brandished a weapon. “He apparently was only passing there on his scooter. If they were giving chase why did they shoot him in the head? Why did they kill him? They could have shot at the tires.”

Jamal dismissed claims by police that they were trying to shoot at the wheels of the scooter and said an autopsy found his son had five bullet wounds in his upper body.

Police said officers opened fire in the early hours of Saturday at two men who were suspected of being involved in a shooting at the Jaffa port. According to police, the men attempted to flee the scene of the shooting on mopeds.

The second suspect suffered moderate wounds and was taken to Wolfson hospital in the city.

Channel 10 reported that the suspects shot back at police during the chase. Police said an investigation into the incident has been opened.

The police officer who shot at the suspects said he did so after they refused to stop and that the shots he fired were aimed at the back wheel of the moped.

A gag order was placed on the details of the earlier shooting at the port but it was believed to be criminal, not terrorist. According to a Saturday report from the Hebrew-language Walla website suspects riding scooters fired at a closed store in the area of the port, causing damage but no injuries. Police nearby gave chase leading to the fatal shooting.

Following the shooting, riots broke out in the city as protesters hurled stones and rolled burning tires at police officers. At least three were detained for questioning, police said.

After the riots on Saturday afternoon, police representatives met with community leaders in Jaffa in an attempt to prevent any further violent clashes.

Screenshot from the clashes in Jaffa on Saturday, July 29, 2017 between residents and police following the police shooting of suspects involved in an earlier shooting at the city's port. (Twitter/Dudi Dolev)
Screenshot from the clashes in Jaffa on Saturday, July 29, 2017, between residents and police following the police shooting of suspects involved in an earlier shooting at the city’s port. (Twitter/Dudi Dolev)

Jamel, the father, said the riots were an expression of anger against the police by residents of Jaffa, a heavily Arab area that is part of the Tel Aviv municipality. He called for calm in the streets but insisted that justice be meted out to the officer who pulled the trigger.

“We want to know who the policeman who murdered him was… We want this person to sit in prison for life,” he said.

Hundreds attended the funeral procession late Saturday for the suspect. During the funeral, a Channel 2 crime reporter covering the event was beaten and his camera equipment destroyed as residents blocked the paths of vehicles caught up in the melee.

The Channel 2 reporter, Gilad Shalmor, was taken to a hospital with light injuries.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: