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Florida teen killed by police was pointing airsoft rifle at drivers, officers, authorities say

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A Florida teenager was shot and killed by police on Saturday night after pointing an airsoft rifle at cars and officers, according to authorities. 

The boy, 17, was identified during a news conference Monday as Alexander King, an 11th-grader at Tarpon Springs High School, according to reports. 

Investigators said police received multiple 911 calls about a “white male wearing dark clothing pointing a military-style rifle” at passing vehicles in Tarpon Springs, FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported. 

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When officers arrived around 9:30 p.m., King lifted the weapon and pointed it at them, according to Tarpon Springs police Chief Jeff Young. 

The responding officers took cover behind a nearby vehicle and fired shots at the teenager, who was hit multiple times. 

Officers had received reports that King was possibly armed with an AK-style rifle but Young said King was actually carrying an airsoft gun.

The teenager was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Alex King,” Young said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the officers and their families as they, too, deal with the aftermath of this event.”

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King had 22 prior interactions with police, including a felony arrest for battery on a school board employee in 2017 and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2018, FOX 13 reported. 

The officers involved in the shooting are on paid leave as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates, Young said. 

Tarpon Springs police will also conduct an internal investigation, the chief added.

Grief counselors are available at Tarpon Springs High School for both students and staff.

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Tarpon Springs is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast about 30 miles northwest of downtown Tampa.

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