01/08/2001

Shaken NY officer says
shooting was accident
[Rochester, N.Y.]

PoliceOne Staff Report
(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) --An officer who shot and killed a man during a drug raid says the shooting was an accident and has expressed remorse for the death.

Officer David Gebhardt said that the 12-gauge shotgun he was carrying inside the suspected drug house on Joseph Street accidentally discharged, with the pellets striking and killing Vernard Davis, 21, on Sunday, The Democrat and Chronicle reported.

In a statement released to the media, Gebhardt said he never wanted to fire the shotgun.

"I was shocked the weapon went off, because I clearly never intended for the weapon to discharge," Gebhardt said in his statement. "I cannot express words to convey my deep sense of remorse."

The newspaper reported that Rochester Police Chief Robert Duffy read Gebhardt's statement to the media Sunday, but did not provide further details of the shooting.

The published reports stated that Gebhardt and other officers entered the suspected drug house Sunday afternoon. As the eight-year veteran officer approached Davis in a backroom, the gun fired.

The newspaper said no weapons were found in the house or on the dead man. The shooting is under investigation, police reported. Two other persons inside the house were arrested.

However, Davis' father said that Gebhardt should be punished.

"The Police Department should punish Officer Gebhardt like any other human being who committed a crime like this," Davis told the Democrat and Chronicle. " 'Sorry' can't give me back my son."

Gebhardt was placed on standard administrative leave following the shooting, police said.

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