JEDDAH, Mar 10: Police have opened investigations into an incident involving a police officer who shot dead a youth while breaking up a daredevil motorcycle stunt-riding gathering on Prince Majed Street early Thursday morning.
According to eyewitnesses, the incident began at about 2:30 a.m. when a youth on a motorcycle was trying to flee a police patrol car in an underpass located in front of King Abdulaziz University Hospital.
“A young man on a motorcycle being chased by the patrol car tried to climb up onto the overpass but failed to do so,” said Saeed, an eyewitnesses in his mid-20s. “The youth then abandoned his motorbike and made a run for it up onto the overpass chased by the officers.”
Mohammed, who was near the scene of the incident, said the crowd began throwing stones at a police car. One of the stones shattered the vehicle’s windshield.
“The officer, apparently acting in self-defense, fired a number of shots,” said Mohammed, who said he saw a “young kid” about 16 or 17 years of age lying in a pool of blood, his face covered with a bloodstained shumag (head scarf) with friends crying over the body.
Other witnesses said the officer fired two shots in the air, apparently warning shots, then fired into the crowd, striking the young man in the neck. About ten police vehicles responded to the incident and about 35 young men were interviewed at the scene of the shooting.
A number of eyewitnesses reportedly reacted angrily and claimed the officer deliberately shot the teen.
Daredevil stunt driving is a popular pastime among youth in the Kingdom. Each weekend, youths congregate at popular hangouts to perform stunts drawing hundreds of onlookers. Reports of fatalities in accidents related to these gatherings are common, although there are no official estimates in the number of deaths or injuries.