15-year-old Jaheim McMillan, a freshman at Gulfport High School, was shot on Thursday (October 6) and died Saturday (October 8) shortly after being taken off life support at USA University Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer confirmed.
According to Gulfport police, the shooting occurred after officers responded to reports of several minors waving guns at drivers. Police said the officers pulled the minors over in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store.
Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper said one of his officers opened fire after engaging an armed suspect since identified as McMillan. Police detained four other suspects, who are believed to be minors, and recovered several firearms from the scene, Cooper added.
The victim's family doesn't believe he was armed, and a number of community members and activists are urging police to release body camera footage of the shooting.
“He came out the dollar store with his hands up, and they shot him in the head,” McMillan's mother, Katrina Mateen, told WVUE. “And then I’m hearing that he seen them... He was sitting in the car and he seen the police pull up with guns, so he got out the car and ran in the store- well, tried to run in the store- and they shot him in the head. The video I seen on Facebook is basically, the man is saying that my son didn’t do anything. He had his hands up, so why did y’all shoot him?”
Video taken by a bystander shows McMillan on the ground in front of the store after being shot by police, per AP News. A witness said officers handcuffed the 15-year-old after the shooting.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the shooting of McMillan.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.