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Fredonia officer fatally shoots knife-wielding man, says officer's lawyer

A Fredonia police officer Monday afternoon fatally shot a man holding a knife and who refused to stop advancing on the officer, said an attorney hired by the village police union.

The knife-wielding man was covered in blood from self-inflicted wounds, the lawyer said. Neither the Police Department nor the lawyer would identify the officer.

"There were multiple witnesses to this man's bizarre behavior," said Thomas H. Burton, the officer's lawyer. "And it is certainly abhorrent behavior to chase a cop at knifepoint out of a house and onto a driveway and then ignore commands from a uniformed officer to stop what you're doing. At that point, the officer could retreat no further."

The officer was not injured and is cooperating fully in the investigation, Burton said.

The Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office and the state Attorney General's Office were on the scene.

The county coroner and members of the Fredonia police, State Police, Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and Dunkirk police were also on the scene investigating, according to the OBSERVER newspaper.

A source familiar with the investigation recalls the incident as follows.

The shooting took place midafternoon outside 76 Liberty St. in the village.

The officer responded to a call of a person in distress who was refusing to leave a second-floor bathroom. The officer, accompanied by at least one firefighter, entered the home while backup was on the way.

The officer and firefighter tried to get the man to leave the bathroom. He initially refused before eventually opening the door.

The man moved toward the officer while holding a knife and with blood flowing from a number of wounds to his chest.

The officer turned and ran downstairs and out the door, with the man in pursuit.

The officer and the man ended up in the driveway, where the officer more than once directed the man to stop. When the bloodied man moved within 10 feet of the officer, the officer fired several rounds.

 

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