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NYPD releases video showing moments before shooting

by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/06/18, 11:33 am

New York police on Thursday released surveillance camera footage taken in the minutes before officers fatally shot a mentally disturbed man Wednesday evening in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Several people called 911 to report a man pointing a gun at people on the street. The video clips showed Saheed Vassell thrusting a metal object that looked like a gun into the faces of several people, including a woman holding her child’s hand. When the officers confronted him, Vassell pointed the object at them. After shooting him, officers discovered Vassell was holding the head of a welding torch. Vassell had a long history of mental illness, including several hospitalizations after encounters with police. But neighbors and his family said officers who patrolled the neighborhood knew he didn’t pose a threat. During a news conference Thursday, Mayor Bill De Blasio called the incident a tragedy and said the officers who responded to the calls about Vassell were just passing through and didn’t know him. Vassell’s father, Eric, still questioned the officers’ decision to shoot his son: “Police had a choice. They always have a choice. They should not train them to kill. They should train them to protect life, to save life.”

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Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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  • Steve SoCal
    Posted: Fri, 04/06/2018 01:17 pm

    Thanks for a good and balanced factual report, about a very sad story, that does not add fuel to any fires.

  • Steve SoCal
    Posted: Fri, 04/06/2018 01:27 pm

    It is interesting to note, also, that the signs held by the concerned citizens on the photo included with this article do well represent a lot of what is behind this kind of concern or "outrage".  Most of the signs are produced by an organization called "Party for Socialism and Liberation".  One is "Worker's World Party" and one is "People's Power Assembly".  While I don't know these organizations, their names illustrate that they are socialist, and possibly communist... and those two things are actually some of the greatest threats to free societies and free, thinking, people.  Just read history and ask almost anyone who grew up under Communism.

  • West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Fri, 04/06/2018 02:46 pm

    First, I would like to thank World Magazine online for giving its member/readers opportunity to respond to articles this way. You're awesome, World!

    In response to the article,"NYPD releases video showing moments before shooting," I want to introduce my one word comment by saying that 1) I am a conservative Christian, 2) I am not a member of any political action groups, and 3) I rarely in my life have held up a sign in any public display (I have held up signs for 41 Days for Life.)

    This is what World writes, "Vassell’s father, Eric, still questioned the officers’ decision to shoot his son: “Police had a choice. They always have a choice. They should not train them to kill. They should train them to protect life, to save life.”"

    My one word response is: Amen!

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 04/06/2018 08:32 pm

    WC Gramma, Law Enforcement Officers do save lives. Every day. I suspect such incidents may number in the thousands per day, across the US. 

    Some actions are so commonplace and undramatic we don’t think of them as being “lifesaving.”  Like slowing down speeders or arresting drunk drivers. Others, like administering CPR, are more dramatic but still do not make headlines. Why?  Because those things are common. 

    But a shooting?  That’s drama! Headline material. Especially for those whose agenda includes tearing down authority. 

    I think our US population now is around 330 million. Any one person’s odds of being shot by a police officer are very tiny. Of course, the majority of those shot by officers have most assuredly done something to cause their own personal odds to shoot way up. 

    If people would just learn to obey an officer’s directions...