ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City of Rochester officials have released police worn body camera footage of a deadly shooting early Friday morning involving officers.
Police stopped a vehicle on Glasser street Friday morning around 4:20am after responding to a ShotSpotter activation nearby. Police say the vehicle was suspected to be connected to the shooting report.
The body worn camera footage starts as officers are approaching the suspected vehicle.
In the footage, a woman is seen standing on the sidewalk and tells officers she is feeling sick. Two officers approach the suspected car, which has two males sitting inside, one in the passenger and one in the backseat.
The males in the car tell officers they were heading to the hospital to get the woman help. One officer writes down the men’s names and addresses and goes to verify the information. The officers returns shortly after, telling his partner he believes the man in the back gave a fake name.
As the officers attempt to open the back door to talk to the man in the back, this is when police say the man was seen “brandishing” a handgun.
Two Rochester police officers then fired their weapons, with at least nine shots being fired. Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said Friday at this point in the investigation it is not clear if the victim fired a weapon.
The victim, identified Saturday as 28-year-old Mark Gaskill, was struck and later pronounced dead at the scene.
Another male in the vehicle was not struck and is seen in the footage being removed from the car by officers.
Chief Herriott-Sullivan said Friday that one gun was recovered from the scene and in the body worn camera footage, police are seen removing a gun from the vehicle.
The officers involved were not injured. Chief Herriott-Sullivan said Friday the two officers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave until the internal investigation is concluded.
Due to New York State Executive Law Section 70-b, any civilian death involved with a police officer — whether they are armed or unarmed — goes under the jurisdiction of the attorney general’s office. That rule went into effect April 1, 2021.
“They [attorney general’s office] understands the public needs to know a certain bit of information and we’ll share as much as we can,” Herriott-Sullivan said.
A press release from the attorney general’s office Friday said in part:
“The New York Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigations has opened an investigation into the death of a civilian who died this morning, May 14, 2021, following an encounter with law enforcement in Rochester. New York State Executive Law Section 70-b mandated the establishment of an Office of Special Investigation (OSI) within the Office of the New York State Attorney General, effective April 1, 2021.”
“We will comply fully with the Attorney General’s investigation. RPD and the AG’s office are working diligently to give the community the information that they are seeking and I assure you that we will continue to demand the answers that we all deserve,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said during a presentation of her budget proposal Friday morning.
In March, Rochester police shot and killed a man outside the Open Door Mission who was armed with a knife. The body camera footage of that incident was released later that day, and ultimately it was decided that the Monroe County District Attorney’s office would hold jurisdiction over that case.
The Rochester Police Locust Club released the following statement Friday in regards to the incident:
“The incident last night on Glasser Street is a dire example of the dangers that the community and our members face every night with the levels of violence and the criminal use of firearms that plague our streets.
It is always easy for some to criticize the actions that a police officer may take in a deadly situation, while they sit safely within their home. Our members were responding to a reported shooting, a very common occurrence that has taken more lives in the past months than anyone should find acceptable.
It is concerning that when so many lives have been taken by violent acts in this city, when an incident involves a police officer, all the focus and dialogue from Mayor Warren is assuring the public that immediately all evidence in the incident will be released and a complete investigation will be guaranteed.
Glaringly there is no mention or concern for the welfare of our members, who easily could have been seriously injured or killed. No loss of life is good. We are thankful that our members avoided injury to themselves and others when confronted with a deadly situation.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.