ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Rochester Police Department have released body camera footage of the police-involved fatal shooting that occurred earlier this month.
On March 20, RPD officers and Monroe County Sheriff deputies shot 35-year-old Brendon Burns to death on Barrington Street. The MCSO video can be viewed here before it is uploaded to this page. The PRD video can be viewed here.
RPD said Burns was seen driving a vehicle the day of the incident that was potentially linked to two other shootings and pulled out a “hunting-style” knife when he was confronted by officers.
Investigators said Burns threatened deputies with the knife and ran.
According to RPD, after chasing Burns through yards, officers found him in the backyard of a house on Barrington Street. Burns then “displayed a shotgun towards” officers and deputies, causing Rochester police to say he did not heed “numerous commands to drop the gun.”
At that point of the scene, investigators said Rochester police officers and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies shot Burns multiple times. Burns was then pronounced dead at the scene.
The RPD said portions of its body camera footage of the incident have been redacted to protect the identities of undercover officers. A second officer’s body camera fell off and did not record the shooting, according to the RPD. The body camera footage made available by the RPD is from other officers who responded to the scene.
The MCSO video includes surveillance footage from nearby homes and RCSD School No. 23, along with the body camera video. In a statement, the MCSO said there was no additional footage available, “due to the fluidity of the situation, and the prioritization of tasks by deputies necessary to ensure safety.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office video begins with a slideshow, saying audio and video redactions have been made “to protect identities and addresses.” It goes on to say the investigation began shortly before 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17, when someone shot at a smoke shop on Monroe Avenue. There is a photo of the smoke shop with a hole in the window.
The video goes on to say a vehicle suspected in the shooting was found on Milburn Street in Rochester. Police seized the vehicle, allegedly finding two guns inside.
The next slide states that on the morning of Monday, March 20, the Brighton Police Department was called to Monroe Avenue after Brendon Burns allegedly fired a shotgun twice from his vehicle at another vehicle. A photo of the purported bullet hole in the vehicle is included.
According to investigators, this is the point at which police began surveilling Burns’ Milburn Street home. They saw him enter his car later that day and tried to pull him over, but he allegedly fled along I-490 at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Police stopped chasing him, instead setting up a perimeter on his home and waiting for him to return.
The video then shows footage from a doorbell camera on Vassar Street —which intersects with Milburn Street— where police saw Burns walking. An MCSO deputy can be seen pulling up beside him, and Burns flees immediately. The deputy gives chase.
More surveillance vide shows Burns turning to look at the pursuing deputy before the video narration claims Burns “puts his hands near his waistband.”
According to the MCSO video, Burns then “takes his hand from his waistband area” and turns toward the deputy while “holding a metallic object.” The deputy, “fearing for his life,” shoots twice and sprints behind the cover of a nearby house “to get out of the line of fire.”
When Burns crosses Vassar Street, running the opposite direction of the deputy, he passes in front of an undercover police vehicle. According to the video narration, the deputy driving that vehicle believed the first deputy who veered off after firing two gunshots had in fact been shot by Burns. The second deputy saw Burns running toward the commonly crowded Park Avenue area and, believing Burns had just shot another deputy, fired at him twice.
Police chase Burns west along Park Avenue, then south on Edgerton Street, where surveillance footage shows him crossing the School No. 23 parking lot. The school was put into lockdown, and officers positioned at the doors. Investigators say a knife can be seen in Burns’ hand in this footage.
The deputy who had been driving the undercover vehicle turned her body camera on at this point in the chase. Multiple law enforcement officers can be heard in that footage telling Burns to “get on the ground,” put his “hands up,” and “drop the knife.”
Burns leads police through multiple yards, eventually slowing down alongside a residential property, where officers command him at gunpoint to put his hands up, drop the knife, and turn around. Burns continues walking. When he jumps a fence, police once again urge him to “drop the knife,” saying repeatedly that they aren’t going to hurt him.
Police tell Burns that he’s not in trouble, saying “we just want to talk to you” multiple times. Officers climb over the fence to catch up to him, crossing a front yard and asking for his name before saying again that they want to talk to him.
Burns heads toward the backyard. An officer follows, but the deputy wearing the body camera footage crosses the front yard instead, walking up the next driveway. An officer warns the deputy to “watch “watch that bag in case he’s got a gun.” When she reaches the rear of the house, Burns is already in the next backyard.
The deputy commands him to “get out of the bag.” Burns rises, still rummaging through the bag. The deputy says “what is it? I don’t know what I’m looking at.”
Another officer commands Burns once again to put his hands up. One officer says tells Burns “I’m going to (expletive) shoot you.” When Burns rises from the bag, multiple officers begin commanding him not to pick up the gun. Then they tell him to drop it, “just stop,” and “get on the ground.”
The officers take cover as Burns rises. In the video, he appears to point an object directly at an officer who demands he drop it. Police open fire.
The video ends with images of a knife and shotgun, marked as evidence at the scene.
This is a developing story. The timeline is being continually updated. Check back for updates.
Watch an abbreviated version of the MCSO chase video
Statement from MCSO
MCSO OIS report by News 8 WROC on Scribd
Statement from RPD
RPD OIS report by News 8 WROC on Scribd
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