Man shot and killed by Buffalo Police Tuesday Night

47-year-old shoplifter reportedly charged at officers with a knife

Gladstone Street, where an officer-involved shooting occured on December 12, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Buffalo Police shot and killed a man on Tuesday night after he reportedly charged at officers with a knife after a shoplifting incident in Buffalo's Black Rock section.

Police announced on Wednesday night that Marcus Neil, 47, was shot and killed by Buffalo Police Officer Joseph Meli, 25.

Buffalo Police continue their investigation in the officer involved shooting that happened on Gladstone between Military and Hertel.

In an update on Wednesday afternoon, Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo said that the incident began at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday when security officials at Wegman's on Amherst Street called 9-1-1. At the same time, an on-duty police lieutenant pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store. The lieutenant chased the man onto Gladstone, where he ran into a backyard of 55 Gladstone Street. Rinaldo said he jumped onto the roof of a four-car garage.

On the roof, the suspect took out a knife. Police gave him multiple commands to drop the knife but he did not listen and, instead, began harming himself and threatening suicide. The man was also pepper sprayed but did not respond.

"The suspect began to advance on the officers with the knife, leaving the officers no other choice than to discharge their firearm," Rinaldo said. "One officer fired three rounds at the suspect, striking the suspect three times. The suspect then fell to the ground and officers immediately began first aid and contacted Buffalo Fire as well as AMR for an ambulance."

The 47-year-old man died on Wednesday at ECMC. Autopsy results have not been confirmed but Rinaldo said the man was shot once in the leg and twice in the abdomen. The Buffalo Police officer who shot the man was also taken to ECMC as a precaution and is now on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

"It doesn't matter what the predicate offense is," Rinaldo said while noting acknowledging that it is normal for police to follow a shoplifting suspect for several blocks on foot. "Once you pull a weapon and begin to threaten the officers...the officers were faced with a situation where a suspect was charging at them with a knife with his hand. It was either fire and stop the threat or possibly fall off the back of this roof with a suspect armed with a knife on top of you."

Rinaldo said they believe the man was from outside New York State and only recently moved to Western New York.

Police did not have body cameras at the time of the incident because the department will not be deploying the cameras until January.

The investigation will likely not be handled by the New York State Attorney General's office because the man who was killed was an armed civilian. Only unarmed suspects who are killed by police are subject to a statewide investigation. The officer-involved shooting from Tuesday is expected to be handled by the Erie County District Attorney, John Flynn.

The shooting is the third officer-involved shooting in the City of Buffalo this year. The most recent was September 12, when police killed Rafael "Pito" Rivera, who was armed with a handgun and tried fleeing police. Buffalo Police also shot a suspect during a hostage situation in late-July.


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