Autopsy: teen died of self-inflicted wounds in playground incident
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was an officer-involved fatal shooting, but the officer involved didn't learn for more than 24 hours later that he actually did not kill the despondent gunman.
Utica Police Officer Anthony Ellis, a five and a half-year veteran of the department, responded to the call of an of a man dressed all in black, firing a long gun into the air and the ground at Addison Miller Playground in west Utica a few minutes after noon on Boilermaker Sunday.
The officer arrived to find 19-year-old Jessie Lee Rose standing behind a jungle gym. The officer says Rose pointed the long gun at him-something the police chief says is corroborated by eyewitnesses.
"According to the witnesses and the officer, they believe that he was pointing the weapon at the officer," Police Chief Mark Williams said. "In a life and death situation, you have a split second decision to protect your own life and what we train our officers to do is put down that threat."
Officer Ellis did that, but didn't learn until an autopsy was completed more than 24 hours later, on Monday, that he actually struck Rose in the hand, and that the fatal wound was self-inflicted from Rose's shotgun. Police now are concentrating on the well-being of their officer.
"The department is fully behind the actions of Officer Ellis. We believe he acted very heroically here. There were adults and children in the playground at the time this happened, many running for cover," says Chief Williams.
Ellis is on leave, with counseling available. He'll be drug tested, which is a matter of UPD policy in such incidents.
The Oneida County District Attorney's Office will review UPD's final findings.