A shooting up close

Setheesh Moturi

On Tuesday, the 21st of September, I was observing a class at Mary’s Elementary School across the street from the state capitol. I arrived around 11 a.m., and after lunch, Mr. Mac told me to help a student one-on-one with some homework.

About halfway through the study hall, an announcement came over the speakers, “Teachers, students are not allowed to leave the building, please close and lock your classroom doors.”

I looked around as students began to muse and murmur about what could be happening–Mr. Mac was nowhere to be seen. As I closed the back door, another staff with a key came in and simultaneously shut and locked the other doors, telling students to back away from the windows and continue working.

As moments passed, an all-clear came on over the PA system, and Mr. Mac returned. He informed me that his brother, an employee at the capitol building, had sent him a text informing him of the shooting.

Lack of knowledge of details of the event led me to a few local newspapers and news outlets. Witnesses say that 18-year-old Tareik Artis pulled and aimed a gun at two deputies and gave chase on foot. He was shot by the U.S. Marshall and Deputy Sheriff at whom he pointed the .45 caliber on 14th street between Lincoln Mall and H Street.

There is yet to be a confirmed number of shots that were placed on Artis. However, he was transported to a hospital and is currently in critical but stable condition. Further investigation will report what actions will be taken by the parties involved with the shooting. A justification for the shooting may not be available to the public yet, but before it is, one might stop to think about the directions this situation could go.

In the last year, there have been many stories of police injustice and brutality. Though the spectrum of opinion and experience varies greatly on this issue, for the sake of discussion, we will narrow the arguments down to two: peace via policing, and peace via public rights. Between these two parties, there seems to be an ongoing power struggle for achieving peace using different methods. Many of the cases that seem to break through local media involve the victim being killed. Although Artis did not die, this situation is enough for us to re-evaluate at a local level how we think about stories of police brutality, especially in the context of race.

UPDATE: After an investigation by Lancaster Sheriff's Office and LPD, Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Moeller was determined to have been acting in accordance to his duty to protect civilians and other officers by firing at Artis. It was determined that the 18-year-old shooter had a fully-loaded handgun, two more full magazines and narcotics on him. Artis is now out of surgery and expected to recover.

Setheesh is a sophomore mathematics and religious education major.