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Teen fatally shot by Calumet City police was autistic

Updated: February 1, 2012 6:02PM

A 15-year-old boy suffering from Asperger’s syndrome was shot dead by police Wednesday after he slashed an officer with a knife in the basement of his parents’ home.

The father of Stephon E. Watts called police for help with his son to their Calumet City home about 8:30 a.m. after the boy became upset and did not want to go to school.

People with Asperger’s often have normal or high intelligence, but struggle with social skills.

Wednesday’s incident was the 12th time police had responded to a domestic disturbance at the home, 10 of them involving the teen, Calumet City police said.

When officers arrived and went down to the basement, Watts suddenly appeared and made slashing strikes at the officers with a knife, the release said.

With nowhere to go, one officer suffered a defensive wound — a cut to the left forearm. That’s when two other officers on the scene fired one shot each, both hitting Watts, the release said.

He was taken to St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare in Hammond, Ind., where he later died. The Lake County (Ind.) Coroner’s office confirmed the death, but would not comment further.

Prior to Wednesday, Calumet City police had last responded to the home on Dec. 10, 2011, when Watts punched his mother in the face with a closed fist. He was found outside of the home holding a knife, the release said.

When officers ordered he drop it, he refused and began to run down the street. After a short distance, Watts stopped suddenly and turned on the officers, trying to cut the officers with a knife.

One officer Tasered him with negative results. Another officer also deployed his Taser, striking Watts and causing him to drop the knife, the release said.

Police say in many of the incidents, Watts was noted to be very aggressive, violent and willing to fight with weapons. Most of the incidents happened when Watts was off his medication, the release said.

Calumet City police officers had received training in dealing with autistic juveniles and adults prior to the latest incident, the release said.

The shooting is being investigated by Illinois State Police.

Contributing: AP

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