Fourteen-year-old Jason Ike Pero was shot and killed by a sheriff deputy Wednesday on the Bad River Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin.
Family members of the eighth-grade boy fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy are questioning why the teen, who they describe as loving and kind, was gunned down.
The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office said the deputies responded to a 911 call from an Odanah resident that said a male subject was walking in the neighborhood carrying a knife.
Holly Gauthier told Duluth station WDIO-TV that authorities have provided few details about the death of her son, an eighth-grader who died on the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s reservation. Jason was the oldest of her three children and the only one she saw before she went blind.
Gauthier told WDIO-TV she believes her son was murdered.
“(There is) no reason you can justify shooting a 14-year-old boy,” Gauthier told WDIO-TV. “He had a bright future. He was a smart boy. He was so smart, beyond his years. He was intelligent, a wonderful kid. He loved his mom. He loved his dad. He loved his grandparents so much. He wasn’t a troublemaker.”
“The Tribal Council is deeply saddened and troubled by today’s event, and they offer their condolences to the family at this time,” the Bad River Tribal Government said in a news release. “This is an extremely hard day for everyone, in times like this the community must come together, and help each other heal. The Tribal Council would like the Bad River community to know that they are keeping abreast of the events and will release the information as it becomes available to them.”
Bad River Band Chairman Robert Blanchard told WDIO-TV that he has not heard directly from sheriff’s officials about why Pero was shot and he questioned why the deputy had to take the teen’s life.
“This is a tragedy that should not have happened. There’s other ways to do things than to pull out a gun and shoot him,” Blanchard said.