PD and admitted to the shelter at 4:30 pm. He remained there until about 11:30 pm, at which time he left. For the next 3 hours he is observed wandering in the area of West Avenue, Chili Avenue, Main Street and Downtown Rochester.
At about 2:20 am the police are called to a residential building on E. Broad Street, in which Mr. Jones entered locked doors. Police were ultimately called, but Jones left as police were arriving and there was no interaction. Security later realized Jones had caused damage to doors that were locked, in order to gain entry. After leaving, Mr. Jones continued to wander in the Downtown area until he ultimately arrived at the Open Door Mission at about 2:55 am.”
Rochester police officers responded around 2:55 a.m. to West Main Street after a staff member call 911 about Jones who was a guest at the shelter. Police say he stole knives from the kitchen and then left the building.
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said responding officers gave “more than several” commands for Jones to drop the knife. She said the man made threatening statements that he would kill the officers, and the officers would have to kill him.
The chief said the officers retreated more than 400 feet, and then Jones charged at the officers with a knife. The chief said that’s when one of the officers fired their service weapon, striking Jones at least once. Multiple rounds of gunfire are seen and heard in the body camera video.
Police say Jones was then transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 3:55 a.m.
The officer who fired their weapon is on administrative leave pending the results of internal and criminal investigations, as per department protocol.
Officials said the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence to determine jurisdiction in the case and ultimately concluded the district attorney’s office would handle the case.
When asked if it the Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) or other mental health resources were called, RPD Capt. Mura said Wednesday morning the whole event happened too fast — about five or six minutes.
The police chief said the new 24/7 Person In Crisis team would not have responded to this type of incident, but added the department is working toward making changes to the PIC team.
“At this point, the emergency communications division, they decide when PIC is to be dispatched,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said. “We don’t request them, and as far as the FIT team is concerned we’ve done some work with them, but in this case, this incident occurred over several minutes. My understanding is that, as we and they get more experience, and more resources as to what they can respond to, those things are going to change and they will respond to more calls.”
The police chief said even if the mental health teams arrived on scene, they likely would’ve been held back because of the present danger of the situation.
“From what I’ve seen it was too fluid, too dangerous, and we would’ve kept them [FIT and PIC teams] back anyways,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said.
The police chief said the Open Door staff member who called 911 was not familiar with the man who took the knives, and she expressed condolences to the deceased’s family.
“One thing I always try to remember, regardless of this occurred, is that’s someone’s family member, and I always try to keep them in mind,” Chief Herriott-Sullivan said.