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"This never should have happened'

Dominique Deming died for some comic books.

His favorite comics featured a character named Wolverine, a mutant with the ability to heal himself from poisoning, stab wounds or gunshots.

Thursday night, 14-year-old Dominique and a 12-year-old friend went to Anderson News Co. to get some comic books and trading cards.

It was the pair's second burglary of the warehouse in two days, police said. But this time, they got caught. And as they tried to escape, Dominique was shot and killed by a rookie police officer who thought the burglars were shooting at him.

Both boys were unarmed.

"He didn't deserve that. We didn't deserve that," said Dominique's father, Martin "Butch" Osborne, 38. "This never should have happened."

Immediately after shooting Dominique, Pinellas Park police Officer Robert Busbey ran into the building at Gandy Boulevard and U.S. 19 and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a sheriff's spokeswoman said. Despite Busbey's efforts, paramedics pronounced Dominique dead a few minutes later.

Sheriff's deputies, who were asked by Pinellas Park police to investigate the case, are expected to turn over their findings to the state attorney's office within a week, said sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. Busbey, a former physics major and engineer who became a police officer just last summer, was placed on leave with pay.

Detectives said this is what they have learned:

Wednesday night, Dominique and his friend broke into the magazine distribution company to check out the contents. They decided to go back Thursday to see what they could take. Dominique had told his father that Anderson News employees occasionally gave him leftover comic books and trading cards that had gone unsold in stores.

About 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the boys were caught by a company employee who was leaving for the night when he saw the sliding back door slightly rolled up. He and a co-worker called police, who arrived almost instantly.

One officer took the back. Busbey took the front.

As Busbey approached the tinted glass door, he heard a loud noise. The glass shattered in his direction. Afraid that he was being shot at from inside, Busbey fired his 9mm handgun once at the door. He hit Dominique in the upper body. Death came quickly.

The friend, who is not being named because he is a juvenile, was later arrested for burglary. He told investigators he and Dominique were afraid they had been caught. They were trying to break out through the building's front door when the officer fired the fatal shot.

Apparently, neither the boys nor Busbey could see each other through the darkened glass.

The state attorney's office will decide if the shooting was justified. Florida law gives police the right to use deadly force to stop a person in the commission of a forcible felony like burglary if the person shooting "reasonably" fears for his life.

The paths that brought together a troubled teenager and a popular police officer were unusual and occasionally difficult.

Dominique, raised by his father, was fighting his way through a rebellious adolescence. Busbey had left a lucrative engineering career to float through a series of jobs before entering law enforcement.

Dominique was born in Brockton, Mass., to Martin Osborne and Kathleen Deming. They never married, and Deming took little interest in the child, Osborne said. About 10 years ago, father and son moved to Florida to start a new life.

Osborne recently got a job as an auto mechanic for a Pinellas Honda dealer. As a single parent, he sometimes found it hard raising a child.

Pasha, the sheriff's spokeswoman, said Dominique had a record of at least 15 crimes, ranging from battery on a school employee to trespassing. He had never been known to carry weapons.

Last year, Dominique was sent to the San Antonio Boys Village, a Pasco County facility for troubled youths. "When he came back around Thanksgiving, he really seemed to have made a change. He was turning around," his father said.

Dominique entered middle school and was popular with the kids in his neighborhood, not far from Anderson News. "Things were really looking up for us," Osborne said. "I got married in October. We planned to adopt him officially and give him my name. He was really psyched about that.

"Then this happens, and I don't know what to do."

Osborne said his son was a fanatic for comic books and trading cards, two of the items Anderson News Co. distributes to convenience stores and other retailers.

Friday, Osborne and his friends were planning Dominique's funeral although he said he didn't have enough money to pay for a burial. He was planning to have his son cremated.

Busbey, 34, who is single and has no children, holds a bachelor of science degree in physics from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent eight years developing optical systems as an electrical engineer for General Electric in Cleveland. When he left there in 1988, he was making $39,700 a year.

General Electric officials said company policy prohibited them from disclosing why Busbey left. They also refused to release anything but the dates of Busbey's employment to Pinellas Park officials who conducted a background check last year.

His Pinellas Park personnel file shows that Busbey worked for an industrial company in Charlotte, N. C., before moving to Florida in 1989 or 1990. Since then, he has worked a series of jobs _ one as a bouncer and doorman at Sweethearts, an exotic dance club on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. He also delivered singing telegrams from 1991 to 1993 for Merry Minstrels in Tampa. An employee there said he had a "wonderful singing voice."

Just before he completed his police academy training, Busbey worked as a ship captain for Hubbard's Sea Adventures in Madeira Beach. All of the previous employers who responded to background investigators gave Busbey good to excellent references.

Pinellas Park police spokesman Lee Lerchen said Busbey is a muscular man who regularly works out at gyms. He graduated first in his class of police recruits at St. Petersburg Junior College.

In June, Busbey applied to the Pinellas Park Police Department. He was hired immediately and began working with a field training officer.

In his six-month evaluation, signed in December, Busbey's superiors said he met or exceeded expectations in every area. He is paid $24,169 a year.

"We're now trying to arrange for him to see a psychologist," Lerchen said. "That is routine."

Lerchen said Pinellas Park police asked the Sheriff's Office to handle the investigation to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest in deciding whether Busbey was justified in the shooting.

Osborne and his friends don't think it was justified. He said he hopes to hire a lawyer, though he isn't sure how to go about finding one. Friday, he was primarily focused on laying Dominique to rest.

"My son was starting to get straightened around. He was getting ready to play baseball this year," Osborne said. "I don't know how we'll get through this."