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Steps away from where North Little Rock police shot and killed 17-year-old Charles Smith a day earlier, his mother stood with family on Monday and described her son as a teenager eager to graduate high school.

"I never would have thought it would be my baby. He was nothing but 17 -- he wanted to graduate," said his mother, Crystal Irvin, as dozens gathered near the intersection of Camp Robinson Road and East 52nd Street.

It was there, outside the Church of Christ Levy in North Little Rock, that authorities say Smith was fatally shot by police early Sunday.

"I never, in a million years, would think the North Little Rock police [would kill] my baby," she said.

More than 100 people -- friends, classmates, family and supporters -- gathered for a vigil near the intersection Monday evening as cars on Camp Robinson Road moved slowly past the gathering. Classmates and family described Smith as a fun-loving teenager who almost always wore a smile.

Officers initiated a traffic stop at the intersection on a vehicle with three people in it, according to a news release from the North Little Rock Police Department. The department did not reveal the reason for the traffic stop.

The release said police found a gun on Smith during a pat-down search and a struggle ensued between the officers and Smith.

According to the release, Smith "fired at least one shot at the officers which resulted in the officers firing shots" at the teenager. He died at the scene.

Sgt. Brian Dedrick, a North Little Rock police spokesman, said Monday that the department has placed three officers on administrative leave. He did not identify the officers nor say how many officers fired their weapons during the incident.

Dedrick previously said in an email that the department would conduct a criminal investigation into its officers' decision to use deadly force.

The agency is one of a handful of mostly large departments in Arkansas that elect to conduct in-house criminal investigations of deadly force encounters. The majority of departments request outside agencies -- usually the Arkansas State Police -- to investigate those incidents.

Dedrick said Monday evening that the department had not yet conducted interviews with the officers.

"We normally wait a couple of days," he said.

Kelly Rodgers, North Little Rock school superintendent, said Smith was a senior at North Little Rock High School and grief counselors were brought into the school on Monday. He also added that the school held a moment of silence for Smith.

Smith's cousin, Doman--ique Townsend, said the teenager was always smiling and liked to rap.

Townsend said she still has a lot of questions about the incident and said police went "too far."

"It didn't need to end like that," she said.

Information for this report was provided by Hunter Field of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Metro on 01/09/2018

Print Headline: Teen wanted to graduate, mother says; NLR officers involved in traffic-stop killing await interviews, police say

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  • wolfman
    January 9, 2018 at 7:01 a.m.

    He shouldn't have had the gun...he shouldn't have fired at the police. Real simple people don't blame the police

  • GOHOGS19
    January 9, 2018 at 8:45 a.m.

    police went too far? they were shot at what do you expect them to to stand there and take it? i'd also like to know if the mother knew where her son was at 1 am in the morning

  • skeptic1
    January 9, 2018 at 8:53 a.m.

    "The agency is one of a handful of mostly large departments in Arkansas that elect to conduct in-house criminal investigations of deadly force encounters. The majority of departments request outside agencies -- usually the Arkansas State Police -- to investigate those incidents."
    Seriously, how is this legitimate?

  • DontGoThere
    January 9, 2018 at 9:19 a.m.

    Listening the the mother accusing the police of "killing her baby" was sickening! Her "baby" pointed a gun at Police! How is that the NLRPD's fault? These thugs need to comply & they won't be shot! It's going to get to where no good person wants to be a cop & then we'll have thugs for cops & we'll see how that STOPS THE VIOLENCE!

  • Foghorn
    January 9, 2018 at 12:53 p.m.

    While I agree that IF the young man had a gun - and certainly IF he fired it at officers - he stacked the deck against himself, I don’t understand how police can justify stop and frisk. If this was ostensibly a traffic stop of some kind, how were they justified in searching the victim. Did he display threatening behavior PRIOR to being frisked? It’s not a small distinction. I can’t believe someone hasn’t filed suit to stop this tactic at least until all officers are outfitted with and REQUIRED to activate body AND dash cams.

  • Trailop
    January 9, 2018 at 1:28 p.m.

    I'll wait until the final report on the investigation is made public before making a judgment. However, if it is true that the kid Did Not inform the police that he Did Not have pistol permit immediately upon being stopped and WAS carrying an Concealed weapon and then shot at the police and losing his life in return fire... then the kid made a very stupid decision that night. Some of the very important facts have already been made to the public. Peace and comfort to the family.

  • Shearload
    January 9, 2018 at 2:54 p.m.

    Odd that the department released a statement purporting facts when, according to the spokesman, the officers had not yet been interviewed. Why is it normal for investigators to wait "a couple of days" to interview the officers? Is it important to the department that all the officers' accounts match perfectly when they are interviewed?

  • wildblueyonder
    January 9, 2018 at 3:39 p.m.

    Don't point a gun (and fire it) at police. Simple rule.

  • mkdm0
    January 9, 2018 at 6:12 p.m.

    He dindonoffin, he a good boy wuz gonna go bible school an larn ta spread de lobe off jesus. Them racist poleeece din haffts shooted him jus cause he shooter at dem. Even president Obama say hit okay ta kill cops. Pigs inna blanket fryem like bacon.

  • qlittle008
    February 8, 2018 at 12:11 p.m.

    If a black kid who's yielding a life-threatening instrument, attempts to use it on you, and you're white, you are expected to tap into your athletic ability and evade all death-defying advances. Even if it means you should: duck, dodge, fall down, or jump over any bullets or knife strikes that are aimed at you. All this to ensure that the black mother's, "baby" comes home to her. Now that we all understand and agree to the expectation, life will be better for all.