SCHENECTADY Police are still trying to figure out what a man was doing before he came to The Daily Gazette offices on Saturday and was shot by police after threatening officers with a knife.
Elvis Norwood, 21, of Hattie Street arrived at the newspaper offices at 2345 Maxon Road Ext. Saturday at about 3 p.m. and asked a security guard to let him in to get a glass of water. He proceeded to wander around the office and refused requests to leave. Police were called and two officers arrived just before 4 p.m., briefly talking to Norwood, who was described as appearing drowsy and heavily medicated.
When one of the officers opened the front lobby door to let another officer in, Norwood began to charge at police with a 9-inch-blade steak knife. Officer Brett Ferris fired four rounds, striking Norwood in the chest, stomach and arm and possibly his leg as well, according to police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing on Sunday.
“There is still no idea how he ended up at The Gazette,” Dearing said. “They have to look into his mental state.”
Investigators have yet to talk to Norwood, who remains in stable condition at Albany Medical Center, according to Dearing.
Police believe Norwood was attempting suicide-by-cop as a family member told them he has been expressing suicidal thoughts and was taken to Ellis Hospital for a mental health issue within the last 10 days.
“This was an unfortunate incident that we wished had not happened,” said Judy Patrick, managing editor of The Daily Gazette. “We never want to put our employees at risk and of course will be reviewing our security procedures to see what we can improve.”
This is the second officer-involved shooting in the city in two months. On Aug. 12, police shot and killed Luis Rivera on Grove Place near State Street after he waved a gun in their direction.
Members of the NAACP have criticized police for firing 14 shots at Rivera when he failed to comply with officers’ requests to drop the gun.
The Rev. Ted Ward, president of the NAACP, said he had not heard about Saturday’s incident at The Gazette and would need to know more details before commenting.
The organization is still waiting to receive the forensic report from police on the Rivera shooting, according to Ward.
Two witnesses have told the NAACP that Rivera pulled away from the officers and started running.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney is reviewing the case. Police Chief Mark Chaires said previously it would be inappropriate to release the report and other evidence such as the police cruiser video of the incident until the district attorney’s investigation is completed.
Ward said it has almost been two months and the investigation is not finished. The victim’s mother has an attorney and is considering filing a lawsuit to get a copy of the forensic report in the case, according to Ward.
“I think it’s unfair to withhold information,” he said.
Saturday’s incident is similar to the Aug. 1, 2009 fatal shooting on State Street of 25-year-old James C. Tomlin, who police say accosted bystanders and drivers with one of two knives. Tomlin took quick steps toward Officer Edward Ritz and Ritz fired two times, hitting the victim once in the stomach.
Family members said Tomlin suffered from depression and took medication.
After almost two years, the district attorney’s office in July cleared Ritz of any wrongdoing in the incident.