Anthony "Tony" Robinson's death has sparked protests in Wisconsin

By Tara Fowler
March 07, 2015 10:00 AM
Courtesy Michael Johnson

A 19-year-old was shot and killed by a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday evening, PEOPLE has confirmed.

Michael Johnson, the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, initially identified the deceased teen as Anthony “Tony” Robinson. Johnson tells PEOPLE that he is acting as a spokesperson for the family.

In a press conference late Friday night, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval told reporters that the shooting occurred after an officer responded to reports of a man jumping into traffic, according to WKOW.

“Before we arrived, the call was updated by another complainant who indicated that this same subject was responsible for a battery,” Koval said.

Officer Matt Kenny entered an apartment where Robinson was thought to be hiding. “This same subject then assaulted my officer and in the context of mutual combat, the officer did draw his revolver and subsequently shot the subject,” Koval said.

The officer started CPR and Robinson was subsequently taken to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

ABC reports that Koval said during a news conference on Saturday that Robinson was not carrying a weapon.

“He was unarmed,” he said. “That’s going to make this all the more complicated for the investigators, for the public to accept.”

Johnson tells PEOPLE that he organized a meeting between Koval and Robinson’s family on Friday night, where they stayed up until 1:30 in the morning discussing the situation.

“She wanted to see her son,” Johnson says. “The Police Chief owed her an answer to what happened.”

According to Johnson, Koval talked to Robinson’s grandmother as his mother was too distraught with grief.

“She’s in shock, she’s grieving, she lost her son,” he says, adding that she suffers from multiple sclerosis. “The grandmother asked [Koval] to do the right thing and bring justice for Tony.”

Protesters gathered at the site of the shooting shortly afterwards. “In light of so much things that have happened not just across the country, but in our own community, it’s understandable that the reaction at the scene and of some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting,” Koval said. “And we understand that. That’s absolutely appropriate under these circumstances.”

“I still can’t even fully wrap my head around this,” 17-year-old Jack Spaulding, a friend of the victim, told the Wisconsin State Journal.

Robinson’s grandmother, Sharon Irwin, insists that the teen was not carrying a weapon. “What happened to your Taser?” she asked police, the Journal reports.

Johnson also tells PEOPLE that Robinson was about to head off to Milwaukee Area Technical College.

“He wanted a business degree,” Johnson says. “The family has asked for peaceful protests.”

He adds that Robinson’s family described him as a “gentle giant.”

Johnson also said that Robinson’s family had set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral expenses.

Additional reporting by MARIA MERCEDES LARA

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