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Sheriff: Deputy Wyman was not instructed to advance on suspect
ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Oneida County Sheriff held a press conference Wednesday, for the first time revealing details of what happened the night 24-year-old Deputy Kurt Wyman was shot and killed following a six-hour standoff in the Town of Augusta last week.
Sheriff Robert Maciol revealed that Wyman was shot while advancing on the despondent suspect, Christian Patterson, who was in his open garage, threatening to kill himself with a shotgun he was holding. The sheriff said that Wyman was acting on his own; that he was not directed by supervisors at the scene to approach the suspect. Wyman was moving toward Patterson with his taser gun deployed.
"I can only surmise that Deputy Wyman saw an opportunity to preserve Christian Patterson's life, to protect his fellow deputies, and to diffuse that situation in a heroic and selfless act for the interest of others," said Sheriff Maciol.
Among the many unanswered questions: Did Patterson drop his gun at any point? Also, did and supervisors instruct Deputy Wyman to abandon his advance on the suspect?
Sheriff Maciol says he is conducting a comprehensive review of the events of the night of the standoff and subsequent fatal shooting. While the review is being conducted internally by the Sheriff's Department, Maciol said he will consult outside agencies such as the State Department of Criminal Justice Services and the FBI.
Maciol said the purpose of the review is not to diminish the work of the dedicated, well-trained deputies and officers on the scene, but to identify compliance with department procedures and create objectives to enhance and strengthen their response to future incidents like this.
Sheriff Maciol did not release a time frame for completion of the review, but said its findings would be made public, with the exception of and information that could compromise the safety of department employees.
Former NYPD hostage negotiator and current Georgian Court University Professor Dr. Robert Louden, a police procedure expert, says there isn't anything unusual about a trained police officer making an autonomous decision to advance on a suspect.
"Here's a person with military and police training. He probably knows about article 35 of the penal law," Dr. Louden said. "He knows he's trying his best to prevent a tragedy, either stopping the man from hurting himself or other officers. He perceived a combination of a threat and an opportunity. He took a chance, and it didn't work."
Louden added that anyone threatening suicide is equally capable of committing homicide.