“This was my baby, and now he’s gone:” Aaron Siler’s mother says she grew up with Officer Torres

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- We are hearing for the first time from the mother of 26-year-old Aaron Siler, the man shot and killed by Kenosha Police Officer Pablo Torres this past Saturday, March 14th near 22nd Avenue and 56th Street in Kenosha. As one might imagine, she's devastated over the loss of her son, but adding to her pain is the fact that she grew up with the officer who pulled the trigger.

Aaron Siler

Aaron Siler

The incident began just after 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when officers attempted to arrest Siler -- wanted on an active felony probation and parole warrant. Siler initiated a vehicle pursuit with officers, and after crashing his vehicle, he took off running. Officers pursued Siler on foot, and when Siler was confronted by Officer Torres, police say Siler armed himself with a weapon.

Officer Torres then fired his handgun -- striking and killing Siler.

Officer Torres had just returned to work on the day of the shooting of Aaron Siler. He was on leave as a result of a previous officer-involved shooting. On March 4th, police say a man advanced on officers armed with two knives. That man was shot by Officer Torres.

"This was my baby -- and now he's gone. It's been hell. It's been hard," Siler's mother, Lisa Toppi said.

Toppi says she went to grade school with Pablo Torres.

"That`s the hardest part for me because he was my friend. And this is my son. And now he`s gone," Toppi said.

Toppi says she questions why Officer Torres was even on patrol in the first place the day he shot her son.

"I didn`t understand how he was allowed back to be on the streets again after the first shooting," Toppi said.

The Kenosha Police Department does not have a policy regarding how long officers are on leave after a shooting. The practice has been a two-day leave. In Torres' case, police say in addition to those two days, Torres took annual in-service training. Then came his regularly-scheduled off days. The Kenosha Police Department's union contract doesn't provide for administrative duty or desk duty for an officer returning following a shooting. Therefore, once an officer is back at work, the officer is back out on the street. So ten days after the March 4th officer-involved shooting, Officer Torres was back on the street.

Siler had previous run-ins with the law.

In 2013, he was convicted of strangulation and suffocation. Toppi says it stemmed from an argument with his girlfriend and the mother of his child.

"After the whole...that incident, he felt -- he knew he did wrong. He felt terrible," Toppi said.

Toppi says a fear of returning to jail might have led her son to flee on Saturday. She now grieves the loss of her son -- a death that came at the hands of a man she's know for most of her life.

"Pablo, you were my friend. Why did you have to shoot him so many times? That was my baby. That was my baby," Toppi said.

Toppi says she's upset about what she considers to be a lack of communication from the state Department of Justice -- the agency handling this investigation. A DOJ spokeswoman says the DOJ made contact with the family on the day the shooting occurred, and would be happy to answer any questions they can moving forward.

Officer Pablo Torres remains on administrative leave. It is unclear when he will be back.

Jim Palmer with the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the state's largest police union says he's never heard of the same officer being involved in two shootings over a 10-day period. He says officers in incidents like this will typically remain on administrative leave/duty for "quite some time."

The shooting of Aaron Siler is the seventh officer-involved shooting in Wisconsin since January 5th. Four of these incidents have been fatal -- one in Milwaukee, one in Green Bayone in Madison and this one in Kenosha. The DOJ is handling all of these investigations.

Google Map for coordinates 42.583550 by -87.835691.

34 comments

  • tj

    Sorry to the mother but her dead son was a thug. If u run, fight, attack, and then use a weapon the police will shoot you died.

  • Gregg Michael

    The officers are just protecting all of us from these criminals who are armed and dangerous. Why is anyone upset, including his mother for shooting him? Would we rather this armed and dangerous man shoot a whole school full of kids? Be thankful these cops put their very lives on the line to keep us all safe. When these criminals are armed and running away from police, you never know what they might do and who they may kill.

  • Doris

    I have family members that are police officers. They have to protect themselves from the thugs out there. He obviously had no respect for the law since he was in violation of his parole. Much rather have the police officers safe vs. the thug! Feel sorry for the mother, but obviously the kid had some major issues. Suffocation and strangulation is serious. Then to pull a weapon out when police officers are chasing you? Not a good idea.

  • opinion8d

    Why are people so ignorant when it comes to how many times the police shoot someone?! This isn’t like in the movies where they are all expert marksman and the perp falls after one shot. They shoot until the threat no longer exists. This is potentially life or death for the officer so in my eyes, they get the benefit of the doubt.

    • Stupid Flanders

      But, but, but… the Lone Ranger always shot the bad guy in the hand and the A-Team never killed anyone. Hogan’s Heroes didn’t kill anyone either and they were in the middle of WW2!!! Are you trying to tell me this isn’t reality?!?!

  • Idiots

    Why, Ms. Toppi, did your son strangle and suffocate his girlfriend. Why did he run from the police officers during the arrest. Why did he start a high speed chase that a dangerous situation that could have potentially ended someone’s life. Why did he choose to pick up a weapon and put that police officer in the situation where he needed to protect himself. Do you think the situation would have been different if it was another police officer. Maybe things would have been different if you would have loved him a little better. In the end he was an adult and made that decision for himself and the police officer. Sounds more like suicide by police officer.

    • NO....Just no.

      Maybe things would have been different if you would have loved him a little better.
      ^ Bit of an “idiot” thing to say on your part, don’t you think? You watch too much Dr. Phil.

  • Kirk V

    Toppi; the officer shot your thug kid as many times as he did to make sure that he could not continue to attack and possibly harm the officer. There is no such thing as “shoot-to-wound”. That serves no purpose. If you have to draw your weapon, then it is serious enough to stop the threat, period. Your kid was a convicted thug who tried to attack the Police. He got what he asked for. Reality check.

  • Paul kristen

    He was not a criminal just a young man who made a poor decision. The penalty for running from the cops is not death. We have to be careful about this word criminal. It’s seems anytime they shoot someone, they are criminals. But police have shot citizens for not obeying traffic laws and minor disorderly conduct violations. These aren’t criminals. They are people who like all people make mistakes. But paying the ultimate punishment of death is not the answer. And not the police departments job. They are to Protect and SERVE US. not the other way around.

    • Kenosha Mom

      Sorry but he was a convicted criminal hiding from his probabtion officers with a felony probabtion violation warrant for his arrest. Look up his record. He went on a high speed chace because of this. And pulling out a gun on a officer of the law, you take that chance of getting shot. Officer Torres was completely justified! #IsupportOfficerTorres

    • Mr. Bob

      You are so full of shi_ that I can smell it right through my computer. He made a bad decision? His mother made a bad decision when she got knocked up and delivered him!! Excuses excuses excuses… You Paul are as much of a criminal as he was because you try to justify and minimize what this no good low life criminal did all of his life. Why don’t you start a fund to pay for his funeral so the taxpayers don’t have too!!!

  • Paul kristen

    How quickly we demonize this young man for prior violations so we can justify shooting him. How many of you PERFECT citizens out there have any marks on your records…….? we all have things in our closets

    • Kenosha Mom

      He drew a gun on the officers. In the middle of our city. Thank you Officer Torres for protecting yourself and your town!

    • Support Torres

      Yes, we all have skeletons in our closet but most of obey the laws. We don’t flee when being pulled over by an officer, we don’t drive down city streets at 90 mph putting innocent bystanders in harm, and we don’t pull a gun on an officer.

      Why do you people think it is EVER ok to pull a gun on a officer. Why do you people not realize that if this young man was willing to pull a gun on an officer who else was he pulling the gun on? His girlfriend? Mom? Who next? He was a threat to everyone he encountered that day. Anyone who ignores the laws is a threat to society. Stop protecting the criminals.

      Torres is not responsible for this mans actions… bottom line. Torres was responsible for protecting the community from a fleeing man in a weapon, yes a vehicle is considered a deadly weapon, and felony carrying an illegal firearm.

    • ScorpioM83

      So a man who has been convicted multiple times for child molestation and also strangling the mother of his child is just “some who made a (singular) mistake”? Not a criminal? Maybe look up his record before you say stupid things the man was an absolute monster and any sane person is glad he’s off the street and no longer a danger to their kids.

  • Christine

    Officer Torres is one of the most highly respected police officers in Kenosha. He is a wonderful person and loving family man. He took 5x the required time off after the non-fatal shooting incident (where officers were being attacked by a man yielding 2 knives) and took training courses during his 10 day leave. Point is, during this incident, the deceased young man took officers on a high speed chace through the middle of town, crashed his car, tried to run and had a gun drawn once they caught up to him. If you pull a weapon on a police officer, you take the chance of being shot. I am truly sorry this mother lost her son but it was her son’s choices that has this story ending in his own death.

  • Support Torres

    Dear Mrs Siler,

    I am very sorry for these circumstances. I understand you are grieving, but I hope someday you look back at your comments and realize how you are questioning the wrong person. Are you going to apologize to the families that your son almost ran over with his car? Did you forget about the innocent bystanders, including his girlfriend who could have lost their lives because of your sons actions? Do you know that a vehicle is also considered a deadly weapon? Did you side with your son when he beat his girlfriend? Or are you the type of mom who blamed the girlfriend, blaming her for making your son so angry. Do you think that it is ok to ignore a parole officer? You most likely think he did not have to see his parole officer because he was sorry for what he did.

    Why do you question the officers actions? Maybe you should have questioned your sons actions instead? Once again you are deflecting blame. You deflected blame for your sons suffocation of his girlfriend… “he was sorry and felt bad”. Do you not realize this is the standard fake response all abusers use?

    Torres did not force your son to flee. Torres did not put the illegal gun in his hand. Torres is not responsible for your sons actions. Are you not aware that people with felonies are not allowed to posses guns?

    Mrs Siler, I truly feel sorry for you. Until you can accept the fact that your son broke the law and was responsible for his actions you will not have closer and you yourself will not accept accountability for your actions.

    • Mr. Bob

      You forgot to mention that she was obviously a horrible mother because if she were a good mother this low life scumbag would not have turned out like he did!!!!

  • Steve

    What is wrong with American where criminals are now coddled and looked upon as martyrs and the police are the bad guys?

  • keyashia Williams

    The police going to keep killing and getting there checks sign until us people as United States stand up and say no more killing it will never be a same

Comments are closed.

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