Family of 15-year-old refutes claim that he shot himself after being stopped by police

The family of a Chicago teen is refuting police claims that the teen shot himself while running away from officers.

They spoke for the first time, Sunday afternoon, marching through west side streets, while imploring Mayor Rahm Emanuel to intervene.

“My 15-year-old nephew, Steven, was shot and killed by the Chicago Police Department,” said Terinica Thomas, Rosenthal’s legal guardian, speaking through tears as she addressed assembled press.

It was her first public appearance since his Friday death.

Police encountered Rosenthal in the 1500 block of S. Keeler in North Lawndale when they say they saw him carrying a gun, and that he ran away when officers tried to stop him before he turned the gun on himself.

A spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, responsible for ambulance transport, said Rosenthal was found with “multiple gunshot wounds.” The Cook County Medical Examiner has since ruled Rosenthal’s death a suicide due to a gunshot wound to his head.

“Based on several eyewitness accounts, these officers ended the hopes and dreams of a talented young man with a bright future,” said Andrew Stroth, the family’s attorney.

A police spokesman said a gun was recovered at the scene.

“The family is demanding to see the body,” Stroth said. “The family is demanding to see the evidence. The family is demanding to see the supposed, alleged weapon that was on the scene.”

Stopping at the 10th police district, where officers who chased Rosenthal work, while members of his Crane High School Varsity basketball team looked on, one wearing Rosenthal’s no. 15 jersey, family and supporters vowed to return each of the next 30 days at 7 o’clock until their demands are met.

“I need to see evidence … my nephew would never commit suicide,” Thomas said.

The police department issued a statement saying ballistic testing showed none of their officers fired their service weapons.