By Natasha Brown and Mike Dougherty
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – Authorities say a 21-year-old man with autism and his caretaker are hospitalized after being shot by an off-duty Camden police officer Friday afternoon.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office says Louis Medina was being dropped off from his special needs school just before 4 p.m. when he ran away from his caregiver to the front porch of the officer’s home on the 2800-block of Arthur Street and started banging on the door. The caretaker followed and tried to stop him.
“Sometimes he does that,” the victim’s brother, Hector Medina, said. “But the caretaker, he normally knows what to do. He’ll restrain him, bring him back over.”
Somehow the front door opened slightly and the officer, thinking someone was trying to break in, fired two shots through the ajar door, striking both the autistic man and his caretaker.
“We heard the gunshots and they rang throughout the whole neighborhood,” neighbor Mary Cortes said.
Louis was struck in his arm and is expected to be okay.
“I can imagine he must be scared because he doesn’t know what happened to him,” Hector said of his brother.
The caretaker, also named Louis, is believed to be in critical condition. Both victims were rushed to Cooper Medical Center.
“I still don’t understand why the police officer decided to shoot,” Hector said. “As a police officer you should know what you’re doing before you shoot.”
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.