N.Y. officer justified in shooting knife-wielding suspect
The officer had a flashlight in one hand, trying to illuminate the moving target.
By Sue Weibezahl Porter and Michele Reaves
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — David Pitt was awakened early Monday morning by shouting right outside his Shonnard Street apartment window.
Another door Allen banged on was Dill's.
"I wake up at 2 because someone's beating on the door. I thought I was dreaming at first," said Dill, whose apartment overlooks the parking lot where Allen was shot,
As soon as she heard the gunshots, Dill, 27, crouched down and scurried into her 1-year-old son's room.
"I moved him out of his room and in with me," she said. "I didn't sleep the rest of the night because I was so paranoid. That was way too close for comfort."
"He was definitely acting strangely," First Deputy Police Chief Michael Heenan said of Allen. "His behavior was bizarre. He was trying to get into a house where no one knew him, threatening to stab people."
Allen had a locking, folding knife with a 4-inch blade, Miguel said.
Another man and his girlfriend left their apartment to confront Allen, Miguel said. They told Allen children were sleeping in their apartment and that he needed to stop.
Allen threatened to stab that man with a knife and chased him and the girlfriend back to their apartment, Miguel said. The couple made it back inside their apartment and closed the door. Allen tried to use his knife to break in, yelling threats to the man inside, Miguel said.
At 2:19 a.m., the police officer arrived alone and saw Allen using the knife to try to break in and yelling threats, Miguel said.
Police provided the following account:
The uniformed officer identified himself and told Allen to drop the knife.
The officer repeated the command several times, but Allen turned and walked quickly toward the officer, pointing the knife out at him.
The officer fired five shots, one of which hit Allen. The officer then called for an ambulance and other officers arrived.
Allen has an extensive criminal history, with drug, weapons and assault charges, Heenan said.
"No police officer ever wants to shoot someone," said Miguel, who called the officer's actions professional and courageous.
The officer followed police procedure for an officer working alone with a threatening suspect, Miguel said. A Taser would not have been appropriate in this case because it's not as accurate, Miguel said. If the Taser, which has only one shot, misses its target, the officer is left in danger.
One state official said the police department should not be withholding the officer's name.
"If you or I shot someone, they wouldn't withhold our name. Why should they be treated any differently?" said Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government.
The officer, he said, is a public employee who engaged in the actions while performing his official duties. "It would not constitute an invasion of privacy to identify him," Freeman said.
Copyright 2008 Post-Standard
Full story: ...