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Council on American-Islamic Relations calls for independent investigation after Tracy teen shot by police

The teen shot by a Tracy Police Department officer Friday afternoon is awake and talking, expected to survive his injuries.

TRACY, Calif. — The Sacramento Valley/Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and members of the community are calling for an independent, transparent investigation hours after a teenager was shot by a Tracy Police Department officer Friday.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon in the area of Silvertail Place and Foxtail Way. Police say they were called to the neighborhood at 1:47 p.m. on reports of a "suspicious circumstance" between two males in the area.

At 1:56 p.m., an officer got to the scene and said he saw a knife-wielding teen who then approached officer.

The officer said he gave commands to the 17-year-old to stop and drop the knife, but the teen allegedly did not listen to the commands and continued advancing toward the officer.

The officer opened fire on the teen with his duty firearm, "fearing for his safety," according to police. Officers gave the teen medical aide before an ambulance got to the scene and took the teen to a hospital where he is listed in serious but stable condition, according to police officials.

Witness recounts and some videos reportedly shot from the scene conflict the report that officers provided medical aide to the teen.

Authorities say the teen is expected to survive the injuries and that a large knife was recovered at the scene. On Sunday police officials said the teen's condition was improving and that he was "awake and talking."

The scene in the Tracy neighborhood was bustling with police activity throughout the night as officials from the Tracy Police Department and the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office canvassed the area, investigating the case.

Also gathered in the neighborhood Friday were community members who called for transparency in the investigation, some critical of how officers handled the shooting.

"There's got to be so many other means to be able to take that situation and not just fire guns into a 17-year-old. It's absolutely tragic," said Nick Waimrin who lives near the shooting scene. "For so many people everywhere, its hitting home. This is becoming part of daily living, you know, the kids are being taught and it's just terrible, it's very very sad."

The Sacramento Valley/Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement Friday night calling for an independent probe into the police shooting. The council identified the teen as a member of the Muslim community.

"The Sacramento Valley/Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Sacramento), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, tonight called for a fully transparent and independent investigation of a police shooting of a Muslim teenager in Tracy, Calif.," the statement said. "CAIR-Sacramento is in consultation with community leaders about the shooting."

Body camera video showing the shooting is expected to be released Saturday or Sunday.

The organization feels the video being released is the only way to see what happened and they are questioning the narrative by police. 

"Our role here, at this moment, is to stand up on their behalf. To ask for a transparent, independent investigation into what happened,” said Layli Shirani, senior staff attorney civil rights for CAIR.

Shirani says the Tracy Police Department should follow what the Memphis Police department did and release that video as soon as possible.

Hamza Falia, Imam of the mosque at the Islamic Society of Tracy, went to the scene Friday hoping to offer support for the teen's family.

"When we heard about this incident we were very sad at a community level and we wanted to get together to see what support we can provide for this specific family," said Falia. "We hope that this family, that what they experienced, that no other family experiences something like this ever in the future and we are just calling for a thorough, complete, full investigation."

The officer who opened fire on the teen was described by police officials as a 28-year veteran of the Tracy police force.

Witnesses and those with information on the shooting are asked to email or call investigators at Philip.Giusto@TracyPD.com or at 209-831-6551.

Watch more from ABC10: Breaking | Tracy police shoot man allegedly chasing person with knife

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