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Why Father of Black Teen Fatally Shot by Police Says He Doesn’t Blame Deputy Who Pulled Trigger

The father of a Louisiana teenager who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy earlier this week says he does not blame the man who shot his son.

Devon Martes, 17, was home Tuesday evening at 11 p.m., his mother, Alesia Martes, told WDSU-TV. But by the time she got out of the shower at around 11:20 p.m., he had left. By 11:30 p.m., he had been shot dead.

According to police, the teen pulled a gun on a deputy who chased him into a newspaper warehouse, just two blocks away from his home.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told WDSU deputies were called to Ford Street and Cleary Avenue after receiving reports of two men rolling tires down the street. Video captured from inside the warehouse shows Martes raising a gun at Deputy Dave Dalton.

Normand said that Martes pulled the trigger, but the gun malfunctioned. That’s when Dalton fired his weapon six times, according to investigators, killing the teen.

“Devon Martes pulled the trigger on a gun and tried to kill one of my officers. But for the fact that the gun malfunctioned, I might have a dead officer,” Normand said.

Alesia Martes told WDSU that one shot should have sufficed. But though Martes’ parents question why the officer shot him six times, they acknowledged that their son was not a victim.

Martes’ father, Glen Parker, told WDSU off camera that he knows his son put himself in harm’s way, adding that he does not blame Dalton for what he did because his life was being threatened.

“I appreciate that statement. It’s one of the most honest statements that I’ve heard in a long, long time,” Normand said of Parker’s admission. “It’s probably a very tough statement for that father to say that because he lost his son.”

Normand said 17-year-old Martes had a criminal record that began at age 10. He was previously arrested for shoplifting, distributing drugs and attempted armed robbery. Parker said his son was not a bad person, but he chose the wrong circle of friends and picked up bad habits from hanging out on the streets.

According to WDSU, Martes was one of 11 children and the youngest of six sons. The teen’s parents said they don’t know who he was with Tuesday night, but said that Martes did not own a car and had no reason to steal rims.

Sheriff Normand said thousands of dollars’ worth of tires and rims have been stolen in Jefferson Parish in the past few weeks. He did not specify if Tuesday’s incident was related to the recent string of thefts.

Investigations into the robberies and the shooting are ongoing.

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