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Schenectady Police Shoot And Kill Armed Man; Unclear If AG Will Investigate

Joshua Scism
Schenectady County

A Schenectady man has been shot and killed by city police.

Police spokesman Lt. Mark McCracken says 33-year-old Joshua Scism died following an “officer involved shooting” that occurred when he approached detectives who were sitting in an unmarked car at about 5:15 p.m. Monday in front of 1339 First Avenue.   "We had two detectives in the area of First Ave. and Sunset, they were conducting a criminal investigation. They were approached by the deceased. He was not the target of their investigation."

Scism had words with Detectives Ryan Kent and Brett Ferris; as he walked away from the encounter they noticed he was carrying a concealed handgun.  "They exited their vehicle and drew their service weapons, identified themselves as police, at which time the suspect produced his gun, and our officers shot, fatally wounding the deceased."

Scism, who apparently has a previous criminal record, was taken to Ellis Hospital, where he died of his injuries. McCracken says there were no body cameras or dashboard cameras.

It wasn't immediately known if Scism fired his gun. The state attorney general has new broader powers to investigate civilian deaths at the hands of police; it’s not clear if the AG will investigate this case. An executive order issued earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo empowers the Attorney General as a special prosecutor in cases involving deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police.

A call to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office was not returned.

Although McCracken says this incident would NOT fall under that description because the suspect was armed, the order does allow the AG to review cases in which there is a QUESTION as to whether the civilian was "armed and dangerous" at the time of his or her death.

McCracken says the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office and the New York State Police are involved in the investigation.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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