"Drop the weapon!"
A police officer, positioned behind a patrol car with a long gun pointed forward, can be heard yelling the command in a cellphone video shared on Facebook and Twitter of Friday's police shooting of a Buffalo man.
"Drop the weapon, Jeremy!" the officer can be heard saying again in the video that appears to show the encounter between police and Jeremiah D. Smith, 35, at about 3 p.m. Friday outside his house on the 600 block of McKinley Avenue in South Buffalo.
The video was viewed 14,000 times on Twitter in the 24 hours after the incident and police investigators were reviewing a longer version this weekend to try to determine what happened.
After the officer is heard yelling, the video shows figure pop up behind a black pickup truck, parked in a driveway in the foreground.
"Poor lady. I feel so bad for her. She's screaming," said a woman who seems to be the person taking the video. She cannot be seen.
A gunshot is fired.
"Oh. my God," the woman behind the cellphone screams as a man in a red baseball cap and black T-shirt appears behind the pickup truck. A woman seems to be struggling with him.
"Jeremy, drop the weapon! Jeremy, drop the weapon!" the officer yells again.
The video appears to show the man in the red cap yanking a long gun up as the woman struggles with him. Three shots are fired in quick succession. After the second shot, the man lurches up and forward, landing on the ground on his stomach. Officers rush forward, guns trained on the man.
In the video, only 11 seconds elapse between the first, single gunshot that is heard and the three gunshots fired by police that appear to take Smith down.
The video shows police officers quickly calling for an ambulance and paramedics arriving to aid Smith, who was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he underwent surgery. On Saturday, he was still listed in critical condition.
The incident began at about 3 p.m. Friday when someone at Smith's house, either his mother or girlfriend, called 911 to report that Smith was suicidal, police officials said.
When the police officers arrived at Smith's home, they heard two gunshots inside the house, police officials said.
"A bullet came out through an air conditioning unit," a police source told The Buffalo News.
More police officers were quickly dispatched to the scene, including the SWAT team.
Smith was shot by Peter Nigrelli, a member of the Buffalo Police Department SWAT team and a lieutenant in the department's Ferry-Fillmore District, police sources confirmed. Nigrelli's late father was a detective sergeant in Buffalo. His two brothers also work in law enforcement.
In a letter to the editor four years ago, Peter Nigrelli defended a sheriff's detective who shot a dog while defending himself from an attack.
"It seems these days that everywhere you look, people are quick to judge and condemn police officers and to criticize their actions," he wrote. "Unless you work in the law enforcement field, in many of these instances you won't understand our job."
Nigrelli was not injured on Friday, but he was taken to ECMC after the incident for evaluation, which is standard protocol for the department in a police-involved shooting, police officials said. He was expected to be placed on administrative leave, which is also standard protocol.
The incident is under investigation by the police Internal Affairs unit as well as the Erie County District Attorney's office. It is not expected to be reviewed by the state Attorney General's office, which has taken over two previous police-involved shootings in Buffalo. The AG's office can take over investigations of police-involved shootings in cases where the victim dies and was unarmed or if it is unclear whether the person was unarmed.
Jeremiah Smith served in the military for a time, including a stint at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
Neighbors in the close-knit South Buffalo community described him as nice, but as someone who generally kept to himself. Many neighbors said they knew him by sight, but knew nothing about him.
"He seemed normal. He said hi every now and then," said a neighbor on Como Avenue who asked not to be identified.
One neighbor described Smith as tattooed and having "a bigger build, like a military man or someone who goes to the gym."