The mother of a Pennsylvania teen charged with attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer blamed Black Lives Matter for the actions of her son, who she says was just following orders.
According to police, Marquell Rentas, 17, and Trenton Nace, 18, opened fire on police officers early Friday morning by a cemetery in central Pennsylvania. Marquell’s mother, Luz Rentas, pointed a finger at Black Lives Matter in a statement released to news organizations over the weekend.
“I went to school with some of these cops. I know some of their parents and we all have respect for each other,” Ms. Rentas said, according to WGAL. Rentas went on to refer to the two teen — who are cousins — as “punk kids” who were influenced by Black Lives Matter, which she called an “irresponsible organization.”
“They are in jail for doing what Black Lives Matter wanted them to do: shoot at cops,” Rentas said, according to WBTV. “The truth is that these are two punk kids following the orders of an irresponsible organization and now they’re gonna pay for it.” Nace’s father also blamed Black Lives Matter for the teen’s attack.
Lancaster County district attorney Craig Stedman said anti-police rhetoric may lead to more attacks on police officers. “We as a society need to take a look at what’s going on in our country,” Stedman said. “There’s a lot of rhetoric demonizing police. It creates greater a chance to have individuals emboldened to take violent actions out on police.”
Marquell Rentas reportedly told police officers, “I was shooting at you,” as he was arrested.
WBTV reports that the local Black Lives Matter chapter has denied any involvement in the attack, saying that violence is contrary to the group’s mission. “Hopefully we can take this near-tragic circumstance and try to figure out what positive can come from it,” pastor and local BLM organizer Kevin Ressler said.