A Roma teen is killed by a police bullet in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Days of protests in Thessaloniki, Athens, and other parts of Greece followed the shooting of the 16-year-old boy last week.
According to members of the Roma community and the hospital where he was being treated, a teenage boy from the Roma community in Greece who was shot in the head during a police pursuit over an allegedly unpaid gas station bill has passed away.
After being shot early on December 5 by a police officer on a motorcycle in the northern city of Thessaloniki, the 16-year-old spent more than a week in the hospital.
After the teenager allegedly filled up his pick-up truck at a gas station and left without paying the 20 euros ($21) charge, police were pursuing him.
Despite appeals for calm from community leaders and some members of the boy's family, the killing sparked days of frequently violent protests by members of the Roma community in Thessaloniki, Athens, and other parts of Greece.
Everyone present is in tears. The boy's death was confirmed on Tuesday by Antonis Tasios, the secretary of the boy's neighborhood's Roma community. "It is unfair for a youngster to depart like this," Tasios added. "We are in severe pain."
The kid, who has not been officially identified, was admitted to the hospital in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery and was being cared for in the intensive care unit until he passed away on Tuesday morning, the hospital said.
The shooting has been condemned by the Roma community as having racist undertones.
In recent years, several Roma men who were supposedly trying to avoid being arrested for breaking the law were shot and either maimed or killed.
Many Roma people in Greece live on the outskirts of society and have long experienced prejudice.
The 34-year-old police officer who is accused of firing the shot has been suspended and placed under house arrest since Friday. This is while a judge decides whether to remand him in custody before trial on a felony count of attempted manslaughter with possible intent and a misdemeanor count of using a weapon unlawfully.
Police have said the teenager tried to ram the police motorcycles involved in the chase with his pick-up truck.
The officer said that he had fired his pistol during a first court appearance last week because he feared for the lives of his coworkers.
Takis Theodorikakos, the minister of citizens' protection who oversees the Greek police, tweeted his "great grief for the death of the 16-year-old kid" and expressed his sympathies to the teen's family.
I reiterate that the court system is looking into this situation because it is the only entity qualified to weigh the evidence and determine accountability. Let's all show respect for that.
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