(Lancaster) -- Lancaster County’s top prosecutor is calling a Lancaster City police officer's fatal shooting of a homeless man who was urinating in public earlier this month justified.
District Attorney Craig Stedman says he would have preferred an independent investigation into the shooting, but will accept the version of events from the Lancaster City police.
On the morning of June 10th, 35-year-old Gregory Bayne was allegedly urinating in public when officers confronted him.
They said they believed Bayne was mentally ill and he became aggressive --lunging at them with a nine-inch knife.
According to the police, they chased Bayne down the street, and unsuccessfully tried to taser him.
When three officers cornered him in front of a store on Queen Street, the officers say they repeatedly asked him to drop the knife.
But when he continued towards them, he was fatally shot by Officer Jose De La Torre. Stedman believes the shooting was justified after reviewing police reports, video footage, and several anonymous eyewitness statements.
“To me, this isn’t a controversial case,” said Stedman. “It might be better to have another department do it, but it matters not in this case.” Stedman said.
Video footage from the Lancaster Community Safety Coalition shown to the media today revealed the initial encounter between Bayne and the police. The coalition is a publicly-funded nonprofit organization with an extensive network of video surveillance cameras throughout Lancaster city.
In the initial encounter, Bayne can be seen lunging at someone who is off-camera with an object in his hand. According to the police, Bayne was moving toward Officer De La Torre with a knife.
But in the video of the fatal shooting, which happened several minutes later, the interaction between Bayne and the police is obscured under the awning of the nearby Yorgos restaurant.
The video comes from Yorgos’ private video surveillance cameras.
*This story was edited on 6/28/13 at 8:05 p.m.
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