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15-year-old shooting death: ‘what happened is not as you read in the news’


WOODBRIDGE — Ruben Urbina, 15, was shot and killed by a Prince William County police officer Sept. 15.

After receiving a 911 call from a male who said they no longer wanted to live, had a bomb strapped to his chest, threatening to hurt others, police stated that they shot Urbina as he wielded a three-foot-long crowbar at them and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert called the shooting “justified.”

Urbina’s family, friends, a school teacher, and former pastor gathered outside the Prince William County Government Center Tuesday night to mourn his death,

His brother, Oscar, said this:

“We don’t agree with the story as reported in the news… what happened is not as you read in the news. The fact and truth of what happened will be uncovered.”

The family did not take any questions from the line of reporters who showed up to cover the vigil. No one wanted to talk about the events that led up to the shooting death of the 15-year-old.

Ruben attended school at Pace West in Prince William County. His brother, Oscar, said school officials placed his brother at PACE West because Ruben needed a school with fewer students to excel in his studies.

Said, Oscar:

“School used to be difficult for Ruben because he needed an environment with less people, and that concentrated on him more. Ruben was always a skinny kid, and because of that he would be bullied. But after the school officials found him another school that was smaller and better able to provide the resources needed. Since then we saw a completely different Reuben where before he would keep his head down and not talk a lot about school. After he changed schools, we really liked school.”

Atif Qarni, a teacher at nearby Beville Middle School and community organizer, said many minority children are scared of police and don’t trust them. More need to be exposed to positive experiences with law enforcement at an early age, he said.


“Unfortunately whenever you have a tragic event like this, trust goes out the window. All it takes is one bad incident. And on top of that, the issue is the 911 tape call [from the incident] has not been released yet. We [filed a Freedom of Information Act request] for it, and it was denied…I think if there’s more transparency then I think you know you’ll have a better trust between the community and the police department.”

Police told us the denial of the audio recording was due to an ongoing investigation.

From police: 

“We do understand there is interest from the public and media concerning the tape and are continuing to evaluate whether it will be released in the future.”


Toward the end of the vigil, each participant was given an orange, helium-filled balloon tied to a string. At of the end of the vigil, the balloons were released and floated up into the sky.

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