An off-duty sheriff’s deputy from Vermont was shot multiple times by police in New York after he was involved in a gunfight with another group of people early Sunday morning, police said.
Shots were fired around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs, New York, near an area with bars and nightlife, following a scuffle between the deputy and a group of people from the Utica area, police said.
The deputy, who was not identified, was “physically attacked” by at least three people, slammed into the hood of a car and knocked to the ground, Commissioner of Public Safety James Montagnino said during a news conference Sunday.
The deputy picked himself up off the ground and apparently moved his jacket back to show the individuals he was armed. One of the other individuals in the group then drew a handgun and pointed it in the deputy’s direction and began firing. The deputy brandished his own handgun, and shots were exchanged, Montagnino said.
Montagnino said he believed seven or eight shots were exchanged in the gunfight, and the deputy shot the Utica man who drew his weapon.
A number of Saratoga Springs officers were on duty around the corner on Caroline Street and heard the confrontation and ran to see what was going on. When they did, they saw the deputy “standing on the sidewalk, his gun leveled, and moving from side to side pointing the gun,” Montagnino said.
Officials played surveillance footage from a street camera on Broadway and body camera footage from one officer, showing officers repeatedly ordering the deputy to drop the gun and get on the ground.
Montagnino said officers ordered him to drop the gun at least eight times, but the deputy “ignored” the commands.
Montagnino said three officers discharged their weapons, firing a total of 11 shots, resulting in the deputy falling to the ground. The entire incident lasted less than a minute, authorities said.
He said that the deputy suffered 10 bullet wounds, including one to the chest, but the wounds hadn’t been yet classified as entry and exit wounds.
“So it doesn’t mean that he was shot 10 times, it simply means that there were 10 wounds. It’s certainly possible that he was shot half that number or even less,” Montagnino said. "If a bullet penetrated an arm and lodged in the chest, that could be three wounds from one round.”
Officers immediately provided aid to an individual who was shot by the deputy and found lying on Broadway, aid to the deputy and to a woman believed to be the deputy’s girlfriend who was nicked by one of the bullets in the upper arm, authorities said. All were hospitalized.
Saratoga Springs Sgt. Paul Veitch said Monday that two of the three people injured remain in the hospital in stable condition, and a third victim was released late Sunday. Their names were not released.
Montagnino said it's the first time in nearly 30 years that an on-duty Saratoga Springs officer discharged their weapon.
“Outside of a training exercise, or putting down a rabid animal, this is the first time in 26 years that an officer of the Saratoga Springs Police Department had to discharge a firearm in the line of duty,” Montagnino said.
He said the officers involved in the incident would be placed on leave, following standard protocol for officer-involved shootings.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim denounced the shooting saying: “Nobody should be on Caroline Street at 3 o’clock in the morning drinking that has a weapon. End of story.”
No arrests have been made in the case and New York State Police are investigating the shooting.