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UPD releases officer body-worn camera video of fatal officer-involved shooting

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Utica police have released the body camera footage from Sept. 12, the day a man fatally shot on Neilson Street in Utica.

UTICA, N.Y. -- What ended with a fatal, officer involved shooting, began earlier on the night of Monday, Sept. 12, with a 911 call from a despondent man.

"I been through a bad time. I been through a bad time, you don't even know. I want to put a gun to my mouth," said 61-year-old David Litts, to a 911 dispatcher.

Soon, Litts, still on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, started threatening police.

"Come on and shoot me!"

"Come on! Utica Police! I will kill them all!"

Litts moved outside, where Utica Police were waiting. Police today released video from the body worn cameras of several officers. You can hear investigator, Jessica Dodge, a trained crisis intervention officer and negotiator.

"David, put the knife down, David," urged Investigator Dodge. "We don't want you to get hurt."

Litts didn't drop the knife. He threatens police.

'You will die! You will die!" yelled Litts, outside his Neilson Street home.

Litts ignores more commands, moving toward police, with the knife in the air. Police can be heard, now screaming, repeatedly, at Litts to put the knife down, as he advances toward them. At this point, Sgt. Tyler Mowers, a seven-year veteran of UPD, currently assigned to the SWAT Team, and Officer Bryan Gil, a two-year veteran, can be heard firing what sound like eight shots. Litts falls to the ground. Officers handcuff him and administer first aid. Officer Gil's body-worn camera footage reveals him sitting in a UPD cruiser, clearly shaken, apparently crying.

Utica police released an edited, narrated version of the officer body-worn camera footage, 911 recordings and officer radio transmissions on their Facebook page, in the interest of transparency.

"To allow people to know what was going through the officers' minds, their hearts, and how they acted in a very stressful situation which, very unfortunately, resulted in the death of this individual," says Sgt. Michael Curley.

UPD's internal investigation and the NYS Attorney General's Office's criminal investigation could take months. But retired UPD Lt. Steve Hauck, a defensive tactics instructor, experienced in evaluating use of force, is ready to share his determination today, when asked if the officers' use of deadly force in the video is justified.

"I think it's clear that it was," says Hauck. "I commend them. I think they were calm in a very high stressful situation, so I think they were exemplary in their actions. Unfortunately, as police officers, sometimes you have to make those tough decisions in order to save your life or the life of someone else."

Sgt. Mowers and Officer Gil are on paid administrative leave, as is standard in these situations.

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