Officer under investigation for shooting knife-wielding suspect who tried to murder him

ROCHESTER, NY – An officer-involved shooting that proved fatal for a suspect reportedly armed with a knife is currently being investigated by officials. 

While the victim has not yet been publicly identified, bodycam footage from the incident has been released regarding the March 10th incident. 

According to reports, an officer from the Rochester Police Department has been placed on administrative leave following the fatal shooting of a reportedly armed suspect during the early morning hours of March 10th. 

The incident was said to have started after officers were dispatched to the Open Door Mission homeless shelter after reports came in regarding a man who’d taken some knives out of the kitchen and had run outside of the shelter. 

Staff members from the shelter were reportedly unfamiliar with the man alleged to have stolen the knives from the kitchen.

Bodycam footage from the incident shows when officers had arrived and were instructing the suspect to drop the knife.

Rochester Interim Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said that during this interaction between responding officers and the suspect, the armed individual allegedly threatened to, “kill the officers or the officers would have to kill him.”

As seen on the bodycam footage released, officers continue to try talking the suspect down.

While this is ongoing, the suspect continues to walk toward officers as police are retreating backwards while issuing orders for the suspect to drop the weapon. 

Chief Herriott-Sullivan said officers wound up retreating backwards about 400 feet, before the suspect tries to close the gap on one of the officers on scene. 

The officer that the suspect was closing in on while armed stated the following to the suspects before the fatal shooting: 

“Boss, I need you to drop the knife right. C’mon man, we ain’t gotta go down this road.”

“Boss, you need to stop. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. Back up right now.”

At this point in the video, the suspect appears to quicken his pace toward the officer, before what sounds like five shots being fired by the unidentified officer.

Based upon the multiple perspectives showcased in the released footage from the incident, the suspect appeared to be mere feet away from the officer before the shots were fired. 

As of this writing, Chief Herriott-Sullivan is not making any sort of conclusive statements as to whether the officer-involved shooting was justified or not. 

With the current climate revolving around officer-involved shootings, Chief Herriott-Sullivan was asked whether, in this scenario, it would have been appropriate to involve the Person in Crisis team alongside officers.

In response to that notion, Chief Herriott-Sullivan stated that this situation was simply “too fluid” and “dangerous” to have involved something akin to the PIC team: 

“When you have an incident like this where it’s a person with a weapon, for their own safety, they’re not sent to those calls. From what I’ve seen, it was too fluid, too dangerous, and we would’ve kept them back anyway.”

Mayor Lovely Warren, who admits that the situation is “heartbreaking” due to there being a loss of life involved, also concurred with the police chief’s sentiments on whether a crisis intervention team could’ve influenced a different outcome.

The New York State Attorney General’s office and District Attorney Sandra Doorley’s office are actively reviewing the case. There’s currently no indication as of this writing that responding officers acted inappropriately during the incident. 

This matter is the subject of an active investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather updates on this developing story. 

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LET Unity

In other recent reports regarding released bodycam footage, officials from the San Diego Police Department recently shared footage from a traffic stop in an effort to put to rest swirling rumors that had gained traction on social media. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego Police Department on Wednesday released body camera video of a traffic stop conducted this week to counter allegations posted on social media that the officer pointed his gun at an 8-year-old-boy.

The body camera video supports police statements that the allegations were false.

Cellphone video taken by a bystander at the traffic stop conducted Tuesday on Park Boulevard appeared to show an officer pointing his gun at the child after the boy’s father was taken into custody for failing to stop for police for a speeding violation.  

San Diego police attempted to conduct a traffic stop with the vehicle for traveling at 70 miles per hour, more than 30 mph above the speed limit. A motorcycle officer attempting to stop the vehicle called for backup when the driver refused to stop.

According to police, the vehicle stopped on Park Boulevard at Upas Street:

“The vehicle stopped at Park Boulevard and Upas Street and a high-risk vehicle stop was initiated.”

The cellphone video, originally posted on SanDiegoVille before hitting social media, was taken from an angle which made it appear the officer was pointing his firearm at the child while being removed from the car. The witness who took the video told the outlet:

“I witnessed the police officer on the motorcycle with his siren and lights on, but the vehicle was already pulled over. Both the driver’s side window and passenger side window were rolled down and the man and boy had their hands outside the window.

“As I walked by the vehicle, I noticed the little boy in the passenger side with his hands outside the window. I turned around and started recording. The officer was pointing the gun at the car (and) used his other hand to direct me to keep walking. I stopped recording and called my lawyer friend who confirmed I had every right to keep recording. So, I started recording again.”

The posted images from the video prompted complaints from citizens, and the group We Stand United SD scheduled a protest at the police department headquarters for that evening, and the group issued a statement on their Twitter account:

“San Diego, there is no excuse for SDPD to hold a(n) 8-year-old child at gunpoint during a traffic stop.”

The San Diego Police Department responded by releasing the officer’s body camera video, which shows the officer did not point his gun at the child.

San Diego Police Public Affairs Lt. Shawn Takeuchi released a statement Wednesday:

“The body-worn camera footage is being released due to misinformation which is circulating on social media regarding this incident. We hope the release of this video will provide clarity as to what occurred.”

In a previous statement, the department said that “at no time” was the officer’s gun pointed at the child.

The officer’s body camera video shows that he pointed his firearm toward the driver as he was removed from the vehicle, as is standard procedure during what is known as a “felony stop.” After the driver was safely secured and in custody, the officer returned his aim toward the suspect’s vehicle.

When the officers called the passenger to exit, the 8-year-old boy stepped out. At that point, the officer immediately moved his aim of the gun downward toward the road and to the side away from the child. Gradually, the officer moves his aim even further away as it becomes clear the passenger is a child and unarmed.

As the child walked towards police commands, the officer tells the child:

“Just come over to us, all right? You’re good, bud.”

Throughout the video of the incident, a male voice out of frame, possibly the father, kept telling officers to “take that gun off” the child and that the child was “8-years-old.”

In a statement made to SanDiegoVille by the unidentified driver following the incident, the man said:

“My son had to use the bathroom and my shop is right up the street from where I was stopped. I was just in Dad mode trying to get my kid to (the) bathroom before he peed himself. I’ve been stopped by the police for speeding before, but I’ve never been instructed out (of) my car at gunpoint. My kid was crying in the car saying ‘dad I don’t want to die. are they gonna shoot us?’

“At that point, I just told him it would be ok and to keep calm I just wanted him to feel safe in that moment but there was no way I could guarantee his safety. I just gave it all to God and did what I was instructed to do so me and my son (sic) could walk away alive. I asked the officer multiple times to lower his weapon because my child was freaking out and I didn’t want him to think that my son was reaching for something and he gets shot. It was pointed directly at him.”

During the incident, another officer can be heard trying to keep the child calm:

“You know your dad was driving really, really fast. Did it feel like that to you? … You, you’re not in trouble, OK?”

The San Diego Police Department said the child was consoled by a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team clinician following the incident.

 The driver was issued a misdemeanor citation for reckless driving, and his vehicle was impounded by police. San Diego Police said:

“The father and son left together after the citation was issued.”

Despite the department releasing the video showing the officers handled the situation with due care and consideration, local Democrats used the incident to attack police on social media.

Tasha Williamson, a former candidate for Mayor of San Diego, posted on her Twitter account:

“All within policy and procedure! Who is the chair of the police board changing this? Here is another one with the children pat down on a swatting call. The caller never tracked down and cited but kids traumatized (sc). Complaints will have no consequences.”

Eva Posner, a local Democratic political consultant, said the body camera supports the claim that the officer pointed the gun at the child:

“The gun is pointed at a child. Why is the gun even up? Why did it need to be raised anywhere in the direction of a child? The person who was considered a threat was in custody before the child got out of the car. This is stupid. You are lying.”

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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