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Policeman’s Account Of Shooting Disputed

A youth posturing for friends with a relatively harmless air pistol that looked like a .45-caliber semiautomatic was shot in the head and critically wounded early Saturday by a police officer responding to a report of a man with a gun.

The officer said he feared he was about to be shot by a gunman who drew a weapon from his waistband, crouched behind a parked car and then rose and turned toward him.

But eyewitnesses who are friends or relatives of the victim, and the victim’s parents, said the youth had crouched only to toss the air pistol under a parked car, where it was later found, and was shot needlessly when he turned to face the approaching officer with raised, empty hands.

The victim, Jiovani Ruiz, 19, a factory worker who had never been in trouble with the law, remained in a coma, on a life-sustaining respirator.

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