Editor’s note: The footage below contains graphic content some may find offensive.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — City of Rochester officials have released redacted body worn camera footage from a fatal officer-involved shooting Wednesday morning. You can see that video in the player above. It contains graphic content some may find offensive.
Rochester police officers responded around 2:55 a.m. to West Main Street after a staff member call 911 about a man who was a guest at the shelter. Police say the man stole knives from the kitchen and then left the building.
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said responding officers gave “more than several” commands for the man to drop the knife. She said the man made threatening statements that he would kill the officers, and the officers would have to kill him.
Full body camera footage
The chief said the officers retreated more than 400 feet, and then the man charged at the officers with a knife. The chief said that’s when one of the officers fired their service weapon, striking the man at least once.
Police say the man was then transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 3:55 a.m.
The man has not been identified at this time, and police will notify next of kin before releasing his name.
The officer who fired their weapon is on administrative leave pending the results of internal and criminal investigations, as per department protocol.
Officials said the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence to determine jurisdiction in the case and ultimately concluded the district attorney’s office would handle the case.
When asked if it the Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) or other mental health resources were called, RPD Capt. Mura said Wednesday morning the whole event happened too fast — about five or six minutes.
The police chief said the new 24/7 Person In Crisis team would not have responded to this type of incident, but added the department is working toward making changes to the PIC team.
“At this point, the emergency communications division, they decide when PIC is to be dispatched,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said. “We don’t request them, and as far as the FIT team is concerned we’ve done some work with them, but in this case, this incident occurred over several minutes. My understanding is that, as we and they get more experience, and more resources as to what they can respond to, those things are going to change and they will respond to more calls.”
The police chief said even if the mental health teams arrived on scene, they likely would’ve been held back because of the present danger of the situation.
“From what I’ve seen it was too fluid, too dangerous, and we would’ve kept them [FIT and PIC teams] back anyways,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said.
The police chief said the Open Door staff member who called 911 was not familiar with the man who took the knives, and she expressed condolences to the deceased’s family.
“One thing I always try to remember, regardless of this occurred, is that’s someone’s family member, and I always try to keep them in mind,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said.