NEWS

Ex-police officer insists teen’s 2008 shooting was self-defense

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Epaminondas Korkoneas, an ex-police officer convicted to life over the 2008 death of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos, testified before a court in Lamia, central Greece, on Thursday, the penultimate day of his appeal.

Addressing the court, Korkoneas expressed regret for the death of 15-year-old Grigoropoulos, who was hanging out with friends in the downtown district of Exarchia on the night of December 6, 2008, when he was shot by the special police guard. “I wish I could change the course of events,” he said.

“I shot in the air twice for intimidation,” said Korkoneas, who claims that he drew his firearm in self-defense, alleging that Grigoropoulos and his friends were acting in a hostile manner.

“I thought it would be harmless to shoot in the air,” the former officer said, only to be corrected by the judge, who pointed to evidence refuting this version of events.

Korkoneas’s original line of defense was that he and a second special guard had come under attack and he fired his weapon as a warning, with one of the bullets ricocheting and hitting the 15-year-old.

Ballistic evidence, however, indicates that the bullet which killed Grigoropoulos had come directly from Korkoneas’s service revolver, while several witnesses have said it was the officers who started a verbal altercation with the youths.

A decision on the appeal is not expected for a few weeks.