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Chief Sheppard says off-duty officer was "defending himself"

Posted at: 08/11/2012 9:21 AM

| Updated at: 08/11/2012 4:26 PM

nullRochester police Chief James Sheppard says one of his officers was defending himself Friday night, firing shots that injured two men on the northeast side of the city.

Chief Sheppard addressed the media this morning about the shooting. Sheppard said Officer Francisco Santiago was just finished with his shift on the east side Friday night and was headed home around 11:30. Chief Sheppard said Santiago was on Joseph Ave. when he was rear ended by another car.

The Chief says Santiago had a conversation with the people in the car that rear ended him, expressing that he would like to contact the Rochester Police department so they could come take an accident report.

Sheppard said the driver of the car failed to comply with Santiago’s request and drove away. They stopped on Pardee St., and Sheppard says Santiago once again had a conversation with the men, saying he wanted police to respond and take a report. Once again, Chief Sheppard said, they drove off.

Sheppard said Santiago followed the car as they circled the block and ended up back on Pardee St. That’s when Santiago called 911. Chief Sheppard said while Santiago was on the phone with 911, the two men he had been following, approached his car.

“The occupants of the vehicle exited and at that point he (Santiago) was assaulted. During the course of that assault he (Santiago) defended himself by firing his personally owned firearm multiple times,” Chief Sheppard told News10NBC this morning.

“The suspects fled the area. Other responding officers were able to contact and apprehend the individuals on Farbridge St. My understanding is as a result of the multiple shots that were fired, one individual had upper torso wounds and lower extremity wounds, and one had a an upper torso wound that we understand are not life threatening”, the Chief added.

The two men, both in their early 20′s, have not been charged yet, but Chief Sheppard said, “We anticipate that they will be charged with the assault and as I said the investigation does continue, and there may be additional charges that may come from our investigation.

One of the men is already out of the hospital.

As for Officer Santiago, the Chief said he has head and facial injuries and that he will not be able to work at this time.

“Presently he is not working due to the extent of his injuries. We anticipate that once he’s been cleared for duty we will administratively assign him.”

Rochester Police are conducting an internal investigation as well as a criminal investigation that will be presented to a Grand Jury. Chief Sheppard said the department is working with the District Attorney’s office at this point in time.

Chief Sheppard also addressed the fact that Santiago used a personal weapon, not one issued by the department. And when asked is it is usual for officers to carry a secondary weapon, besides the department issued weapon, the Chief answered, “Oh yes, most definitely. A lot of officers depend just on the RPD issued weapon but several officers have multiple weapons that they chose to have, based on the fact that they can have them.”

Officer Santiago is a six year veteran with the Rochester Police department. Chief Sheppard did not mention the extent of the injuries of the responded officers, who were involved in a crash as they were responding to the 911 call Santiago made, requesting officers on the scene.

For more Rochester, N.Y. news go to our website www.whec.com.
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