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Roma boy shot in the head by police officer dies in hospital

16-year-old Roma boy Kostas Fragoulis, shot in the head by a police officer on December 5, died on Tuesday morning Ippokratio General Hospital in Thessaloniki announced.

For nine days, the teenager who was also a father of a baby, was struggling for life, intubated in the ICU. However, from the very first moment, doctors were clear, that he had no chances to survive.

The bullet had reportedly struck him in the lower left side of the head, damaging brain parts essential for the function of body main organs.

He was transferred to hospital in coma, underwent an extensive surgery that had the bullet removed. He remained in coma all these days.

The Roma boy was shot during a police chase by officers of the DIAS units on motorcycles.

The chase started after the teenager tanked a pick up truck and left the gas station without paying 20 euros.

In a letter to the teenager’s family, the hospital confirmed that he succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday morning.

The shooting sparked outrage in the Roma community that says it was racially motivated.

Riots broke out in several parts of Greece, but meetings between Roma leaders and police unionists in Thessaloniki managed to diffuse the tension.

After Kostas’ death, Roma and anti-authoritarians announced a protest rally in Kamara, Thessaloniki, at 7 p.m. later on Tuesday.

Police across the country have been set on alert and leave permissions have been suspended out of fear there maybe be violent riots.

Charges for police officer

The victim’s death changes the legal situation for the 34-year-old police officer.

After his arrest short after the shooting, he was charged by the First Instance Prosecutor in Thessaloniki with “attempted murder with possible intent”, a felony, as well as “execution of an illegal immobilizing or neutralizing shot”, a misdemeanor.”

The officer claimed that the victim tried to ram his colleagues on the second motorcycle involved in the chase.

Τhe officer seemed to have violated several of the official instructions during chases. Minister for Citizen Protection had updated making stricter instructions for similar cases after the shooting and death of a 15-year-old Roma Nikos Sampanis by police officers in Perama, suburb of Piraeus October 2021. Seven police officers were arrested.

Note that both victims were unarmed.

The accused 34-year-old police officer was released under house arrest last week after  prosecutor and examining magistrate could not agree upon remand custody.

The latest development that will change the charges will most likely postpone the council’s decision.

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