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US teen shot by police brain dead - lawyer
Updated: 2006-01-15 09:00

The parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of terrorizing classmates with a pistol warned authorities the weapon likely was fake before police shot him in a middle school bathroom, a family attorney said Saturday.

Christopher Penley, of Winter Springs, was accused of pulling a pellet gun in a classroom Friday and pointing it at other students. When he later raised the weapon at a deputy, a SWAT team member shot him, authorities said. Penley was clinically brain dead Saturday, said family attorney Mark Nation.

US teen shot by police brain dead - lawyer
Investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement look over the scene of a shooting at Milwee Middle School in Longwood, Fla., Friday, Jan. 13, 2006. [AP]

"His organs are in the process of being harvested," Nation said.

Officers who had responded to the 1,100-student school in suburban Orlando believed the gun was a Beretta 9mm, and didn't learn until after the shooting that it was a pellet gun.

The boy's parents, Ralph and Donna Penley, were in contact with authorities during the incident and told them they believed Penley did not have a real gun, Nation said. Ralph Penley went to the school to attempt to talk his son out of the situation.

"When he got to the school, they would not let him in and he was later told Christopher had been shot," Nation said.

Friends and investigators say Penley was bullied and emotionally distraught, and went to school that day expecting to die.

Patrick Lafferty, a 15-year-old neighbor who has known Penley about six years, said he wasn't surprised by what happened. He said Penley was a loner who "told me he wanted to kill himself dozens of times."

"He would put his headphones on and walk up and down the street and he would work out a lot," preferring to keep to himself, Lafferty said.

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