On Wednesday, April 4, New York City police officers shot and killed a black man after he allegedly pointed what they believed was a gun at them. The victim was later identified as 35-year-old Saheed Vassell.
After the shooting, Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan said that Vassell was actually holding “a pipe with some sort of knob on it.” According to reports, the incident started shortly before 5 p.m., when police say they received three separate 911 calls from Brookyln of a man aiming what was originally described as a “silver firearm.”
NYPD officers arrived at the scene to find a man matching the description provided by the 911 callers. Four officers discharged their weapons at Vassell, firing 10 shots in total. The officers applied first aid and called for an ambulance to take him to Kings County Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
via NY Daily News:
A bipolar Brooklyn man waving a metal object at passersby was fatally shot by police Wednesday when cops responding to 911 calls for a man with a gun said he “took a two-handed shooting stance” and pointed at them.
The man, identified by family members as Saheed Vassell, 34, was a Jamaica-born welder and the father of a teenage boy.
Police said they were responding to three 911 calls that came in around 4:40 p.m. about a black man wearing a brown jacket waving what people thought was a silver gun on the corner of Utica Ave. and Montgomery St., NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said at a press conference.
According to the NY Daily News, Andre Wilson, 38, said he’s known the victim for 20 years, describing him as a quirky neighborhood character.
“All he did was just walk around the neighborhood,” he said. “He speaks to himself, usually he has an orange bible or a rosary in his hand. He never had a problem with anyone.”
Saheed’s father-in-law, Eric Vassell, said Saheed suffered from bipolar disorder but was harmless.