Updated 01/30/2013 02:30 PM
New Details About Officer-Involved Shooting
Charges are pending in the case of a police-involved shooting at a downtown apartment Tuesday on State Street. We are getting more details about the suspect and the officers involved.
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"He became very agitated and began to argue with the officers."
Chief James Sheppard described what happened Tuesday afternoon when his officers were assisting a court marshall with an eviction at the Cooper Union building on State Street. It's owned by the Volunteers of America and is used for transitional housing.
Police say the suspect, 45-year-old Timothy Powell, refused to leave his apartment and at one point, armed with a knife, he wrestled with one of the officers. That's when police called for back up.
"At some point, while still armed with a knife and approaching the officers, he sprayed a caustic liquid into several of the officers faces. We had a less lethal option present in the form of a taser, which was deployed but ineffective, and simultaneously, two of the officers deployed deadly physical force."
Both officers fired one shot. Powell was struck once in the hip and taken to Strong Hospital for treatment. Five police officers also went to Strong where they were treated and released.
The officers involved in the shooting were identified as 10-year veteran James Ott, and 12-year veteran Antonio Gonzales.
Gonzales was involved in another shooting on Locust Street in June 2012. He was one of seven officers who shot and killed 20-year-old Israel Andino. Police said when Andino began firing at the officers, they returned fire, and killed him.
"Every situation will be judged individually and by each individual officer; however, when you're confronted with what we deem to be deadly physical force, that is one of your options, to use deadly physical force."
Although police chief Sheppard believes both his officers were fully justified in this shooting, an internal and criminal investigation is underway. Until the results of that investigation are in, both officers will remain on paid administrative leave.
"Based on our preliminary review, we believe that their response in use of deadly physical force was consistent with their training. The investigation will be submitted to the grand jury and they will make a determination in terms of justification," Sheppard said.