Name: Jeremiah Moore
Died: October 21, 2012
Age at death: 19
Cause of death: Police shooting
Location: Vallejo, California, USA
Jeremiah Moore was an introvert who rented a home with his boyfriend Jason and worked as a steam pipe fitter. His boyfriend collected antiques. They had a dog named Snickers. Together, they decided to create a community garden, and they planned a party to celebrate–"No alcohol, just vegetables," Jeremiah's mother remembers him saying. Jeremiah had never been a drug addict.
But the night before the party, something went very wrong. Jeremiah's boyfriend had gotten high, and one or the other of the men had set the house on fire. A neighbor called the police as Jeremiah, following commands from his intoxicated boyfriend, began smashing car windshields. At some point, Jeremiah took off his clothes.
Officers who showed up at the scene claim that Jeremiah was pointing a rifle at the stomach of a police officer. However, a neighbor who was watching from across the street says that Jeremiah had his hands up and was flailing them around as though he couldn't seem to stop. When police officers ordered him to stop moving, he couldn't stop. The officer panicked and shot Jeremiah. The neighbor also claims that the officers made no attempt to check whether Jeremiah was alive.
The nature of the truth remains uncertain. A rifle was found–but it was a 1920s antique, part of Jason's antique collection, and the neighbor who witnessed the shooting says that Jeremiah's hands were empty. Initial reports that the rifle had been loaded were dropped by the time the DA made his statement. Jeremiah's body had only traces of marijuana and no hallucinogens [ed. note: Marijuana is so easy to detect that traces of it will be present weeks or even months after exposure; Jeremiah was probably not high at the time of his death], but his mother says that he tended to comply when given commands, and might simply have been following his boyfriend's orders. And the police officer who had shot Jeremiah had been involved in three of the six fatal police shootings in his district that year.
Jeremiah's parents are still waiting for the autopsy report, and for answers.
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