When reports surfaced last week that the dad of the shooting suspect in the death of a police officer in Philadelphia had failed to report an assault from the prior year, the case rekindled a longstanding debate over the issue of gun violence in the U.S. The debate is not only fierce but increasingly divisive.
The Sanders and Kroll cases
Both Sherriff’s deputies interviewed Alejandro Kroll, who works for Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell. He was arrested in May in connection with a home invasion at a pharmacy in which a woman was pistol-whipped. His son, Eugene, 19, was also arrested and charged with assault.
Sheriff’s Lt. Justin Strickland did not immediately tell the FBI the beating, because he had “no official knowledge” of the circumstances. But he informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the assault in a report soon after the mug shot had been taken of Eugene, saying that he was “charged with assault.”
Once he learned of the January incident and the March home invasion, Strickland called the family and, on the record, relayed the sheriff’s and district attorney’s concerns about Eugene’s behavior and that he had been apprehended in the drug bust.
“Eugene, you need to be much more supervised,” Strickland told Kroll, according to a series of four calls the family provided to the FBI. “What is going on,” he added, with emphasis, “are your [infractions] getting higher and higher.”
Kroll and his wife sobbed and cried and yelled and told him to go to the police. He said he did.
“If you want to ruin this kid’s life, don’t call the police,” Kroll said, according to the calls. He repeated the plea several times.
Kroll later told investigators he called Strickland because he was under the impression he was dealing with his son, the DA’s spokesman said, and he was unaware of the nature of the assault. The father does not appear to have expressed any concern about his son’s gun ownership.
The stories the video shows
Kroll: I’m not guilty of any crimes, and I’m just trying to watch my kid.
Sheriff: OK, he’s been picked up for drug cases, and he needs to be held accountable.
Sheriff: Eugene, you need to be much more supervised. What is going on, in your life, you’re acting in a way that hurts people, hurting people’s lives, hurting everyone’s lives.
Edgar Sanders, father of the police shooting suspect: I’m trying to, uh…to sit with you. But I don’t feel safe.
Emmanuel Kroll, son of the shooting suspect: Piss me off. To me, we deserve every bit of leniency. I was not drinking or doing drugs.
Eugene Kroll: I didn’t do anything wrong. The whole time I was there [in jail] I was only calm, I was just letting my dad know that I was tired of my life being like this, I just want to change it.
Emmanuel Kroll: You got a wife and kids and you got this life you got and, um, I don’t really care about your life.
Edgar Sanders: What does my life look like? What’s your life look like? What’s it look like? So please do you know what I looked like when I was 22? When I was 17? Do you know what my life looked like? Because I don’t think that I’m mad. I’m not mad at you, I’m just, there’s some certain things that you probably didn’t know about my life, it’s not just that it might make me mad. I think it would make you mad. It would make me mad, it would make my family mad, it would make my friends mad. It would make, um, let’s try to move forward a little bit, but it would make my life kind of…kind of…like stupid.
Edgar Sanders: What is it, just simple being honest with them. What are they doing? They want to know? OK. You can call the DEA.