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Police ID man who was shot, killed by York officers

Written by Gordon Rago and Ted Czech, Daily Record/Sunday News | Oct 19, 2015 4:37 AM
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Pennsylvania State Police responded to the scene of a shooting Saturday afternoon on Kelly Drive and Community Place. (Jason Plotkin - Daily Record/Sunday News)

(York) -- Over a dozen candles have been placed at the scene of Saturday's shooting in York, along with 'R.I.P. Dinnk" in spray paint next to the candles.

The outside of one candle says "R.I.P. Dink," "Love You" and "Eagle Nation."

A 28-year-old York man was fatally shot Saturday by two York City Police officers outside his home in York's Fireside neighborhood after officers responded to a disturbance, authorities said.

Officers got a call to respond to the 1000 block of Kelly Drive shortly before 2 p.m., York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said at the scene, adding that a man was reported to have a knife and was acting in a threatening manner.

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Candles now at the scene of a Saturday shooting in York. (Ed Mahon -- Daily Record/Sunday News)

When police arrived, they came upon Dequan Williams, who had a knife, according to a release from state police.

Police ordered Williams to drop the knife several times and an officer deployed a Taser after Williams failed to comply, state police said.

An altercation ensued and both officers fired their pistols. State police did not say how many shots were fired or how many times Williams was struck.

Williams was taken in an ambulance to York Hospital where he died at approximately 2:15 p.m., the York County Coroner's Office said.

The two York City Police officers were put on administrative leave, effective immediately. Their names were not released.

The York County District Attorney's office will make a ruling about whether the use of deadly force was justified.

York City Police will conduct an internal investigation, Kahley said.

Following protocol, Kahley said, state police will lead the investigation.

"We want an outside party, a disinterested third party, to look at it," the chief said. "They'll interview officers and witnesses for the DA who will make the final determination as whether the force was justified."

Several troopers could be seen doing just that at the scene into Saturday evening, going door-to-door interviewing neighbors, measuring out distances and taking photographs of two York City Police cruisers.

After the shooting, police focused their attention on a yellow house, cordoning off an area with caution tape.

Just after 2 p.m., a woman standing in the doorway to the home collapsed, visibly upset, while speaking with police.

A man who was with her helped her to the passenger side of a pickup, then got in the driver's side and drove away.

A neighbor who said she provided a statement to investigators heard four gunshots.

Cherri Bones, who lives across the street from where the shooting took place, said the window of a room in her two-story home was open when police arrived and she heard the officers ordering the man to drop the knife. "(The officers) would tell him not to come closer," Bones said. "He didn't listen."

The officers were on the street and the man was in front of the home, Bones said, but he came closer to the officers.

Bones, and other neighbors at the scene, described Fireside as a low-crime area. "This is supposed to be a good neighborhood," Bones said.

The coroner's office said an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death will take place Monday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown.

Deadly force and the 21-foot rule Charles Smith, who lives on Kelly Drive in the Fireside neighborhood, questioned why police had to use deadly force.

"They might be right to stop him, but they did it the wrong way," Smith said of the officers. "Shoot him to wound him, not kill him."

The officers may have been justified in the shooting, but a man with a knife should be shot and wounded, he said.

Police cadets today are taught about the 21-foot rule, which is the nearest a law enforcement officer with a holstered weapon should allow a person armed with a knife to approach before drawing and firing, according to Dr. Ron Martinelli, a forensic criminologist and police practices expert in Temecula, Calif.

The 21-foot rule ensures a police officer has time to draw his weapon and fire at a charging suspect, Martinelli told the York Daily Record earlier this year. His comments came surrounding the fatal police-involved shooting of Todd W. Shultz, who also had a knife, outside a Kmart in Springettsbury Township in 2012.


This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF.

Published in News, York

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