Who is Michael Rosfeld, officer charged in Antwon Rose’s death? |

Who is Michael Rosfeld, officer charged in Antwon Rose’s death?

Theresa Clift
Michael Rosfeld as a student at Oakmont's Riverview High School.
East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld was charged with criminal homicide in the killing of 17-year-old Antwon Rose.

Michael Rosfeld graduated from Oakmont’s Riverview High School with plans of becoming an accountant, but he set his sights on becoming a cop while pursuing a degree from Penn State.

Rosfeld, 30, of Penn Hills was charged Wednesday with criminal homicide for shooting and killing Antwon Rose on June 19.

Family and friends, former classmates, colleagues and employers aren’t saying much about Rosfeld publicly.

Riverview’s 2006 yearbook shows Rosfeld was known to classmates as “Mikey.” The 2006 graduate played on the football team and participated in ski club, and his senior photo shows him with a tight-lipped grin.

In his yearbook bio, Rosfeld said he planned to study at Penn State New Kensington.

“Then I will make lots of money counting other people’s money,” Rosfeld wrote.

Classmates who spoke with the Trib but asked not to be identified remembered Rosfeld as a nice kid who participated in the Boy Scouts through high school and was involved in Civil Air Patrol.

Rosfeld started college at Penn State New Kensington but later transferred to the university’s Altoona campus, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in the spring of 2010, a university spokesman said.

He went on to work for several Western Pennsylvania police departments.

Rosfeld worked as a part-time officer for Oakmont from 2011 to 2013 and worked for less than a year as a part-timer for Harmar about five years ago, according to officials in the communities.

When asked to share any recollections of Rosfeld, Harmar Chief Jason Domaratz said, “Nothing stands out.”

He worked as a full-time officer for the University of Pittsburgh from October 2012 through January 2018. Pitt has declined to say more about Rosfeld’s tenure with the department.

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Rose’s family, said his investigators have uncovered “a significant history of abuse of authority, and a pattern that should have signaled East Pittsburgh not to hire this officer.”

Rosfeld was sworn in as an East Pittsburgh officer less than two hours before he shot Rose three times as the 17-year-old ran from police. Rose was unarmed.

Merritt said he is working to obtain a copy of Rosfeld’s personnel file.

Pitt handed over to Rosfeld’s personnel file to county investigators, according to a Pitt spokesman.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. was tight-lipped about what he’s learned about Rosfeld’s track record as a cop during a news conference Wednesday, but when a reporter asked whether Rosfeld’s past behavior concerned him, Zappala responded, “Yes.”

Rosfeld grew up in Oakmont, and his parents still live there. The area surrounding Rosfeld’s parents’ home in Oakmont was quiet Wednesday. No one answered the door at their home, which fronts onto a narrow street in a quiet neighborhood surrounded with historic homes.

When a Trib reporter asked about the family, those who would talk said they didn’t know them.

Rosfeld’s normally quiet street in Penn Hills has been filled with police, media and curious residents since the shooting.

Several neighbors said they didn’t know a cop lived on their street until authorities identified Rosfeld last Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, an American flag flew on the porch of Rosfeld’s home and a wreath on the front door said “All Hearts Welcome.” A vase of flowers sat in the front window.

Rosfeld bought the two-story house in January 2013, county real estate records show. His wife Michelle is listed as a co-owner. A Trib reporter knocked on the door Wednesday, and no one answered.

Arthur Ponder, 73, lives three houses down from Rosfeld. The retiree, a lifelong Penn Hills resident, said he didn’t know Rosfeld.

Ponder said he spends much of his days looking out an upstairs window. Lately, he’s seen a lot.

Officials removed the Hudson Street signs from both ends of the steep road, though the constant presence of police vehicles there makes it hard not to know which street Rosfeld lives on.

“It feels very shocking to see that a police officer would shoot somebody in the back three times,” Ponder said. “I’m happy with the charges being filed.”

Thelma Dean lives across the street from Ponder. Like Ponder, she said she didn’t know Rosfeld.

“I’ve been wondering what’s going on because I’ve seen police cars the last three days,” Dean said.

When told of what happened, Dean said, “I don’t know the circumstances, so I can’t judge.”

This story has been updated to indicate that Rosfeld started college at Penn State New Kensington and finished his degree at Penn State Altoona.

Staff writers Michael DiVittorio and Jamie Martines contributed to this report. Theresa Clift and Tom Davidson are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Clift at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift. Reach Davidson at 724-226-4715 or [email protected]

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