Saranac Lake, NY – New York Attorney General Letitia James released bodycam video of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in June when a man lunged at a Saranac Lake Village police officer with a knife (video below).
The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. on June 29 when Saranac Lake Village Police Officers Gabrielle Beebe and Aaron Sharlow responded to a call about a stabbing at a convenience store on Bloomingdale Avenue, the Press-Republican reported.
Officer Beebe’s bodycam showed that when the officers arrived on the scene, the suspect – later identified as Joshua De’Miguel Kavota— was standing outside the front door of Stewart’s Shops, the Press-Republican reported.
“What’s up?” she asked Kavota.
“He assaulted me,” Kavota said. “He trespassed on my property.”
It was unclear which “he” the suspect was referring to in the video.
“OK, where’s uh, where’s the knife?” Officer Beebe asked.
“I can’t give you that,” Kavota replied.
“OK, I’m going to need you to take it out of your pocket and give it to me right now,” Officer Beebe instructed him.
“I can’t do that,” he said.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to take the knife out of your pocket,” Officer Beebe said.
“It’s my property,” Kavota replied and did not move.
“Sir, I need you to take the knife out of your pocket,” the officer insisted in the video.
“I would be careful what you [unintelligible],” the suspect warned and then pulled a knife out of his pocket and lunged at Officer Beebe.
Officer Beebe screamed and stumbled backwards, the bodycam showed.
And Officer Sharlow opened fire on Kavota, shooting him twice, the Press-Republican reported.
Kavota fell to the ground and began waving his arms in the air as he struggled for his last breaths, the video showed.
Bodycam showed a wooden-handled kitchen knife that fell to the ground by his feet when he was shot as he tried to attack Officer Beebe.
The officers immediately called for an ambulance and began rendering First Aid to the suspect with the help of several good Samaritans in the parking lot, the video showed.
Kavota was transported to Adirondack Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, the Press-Republican reported.
The Attorney General’s Office released the bodycam footage on July 13.
Members of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) viewed the video on July 2 and determined the officer-involved shooting was not racially-motivated, the Press-Republican reported.
“It appears from the evidence that the officer’s life was in imminent danger,” ADI said in a written statement.
ADI revealed earlier this month that Kavota had stabbed a mental health advocate who was trying to offer help to the suspect, the Press-Republican reported.
“Joshua Kavota was in the process of working with mental health advocates who had been called to intervene, based on his erratic behavior,” ADI wrote. “That encounter resulted in Mr. Kavota stabbing a mental health advocate.”
Kavota was under the care of Lakeside House, a human services organization the provides housing for the mentally-ill, when he was shot, the Press-Republican reported.
The dead man’s family has criticized the officers’ handling of Kavota.
“This should have been handled differently,” Kavota’s stepmother, Jenny Richard, told the Press-Republican. “A young man died because no one wanted to take the time to get him help.”
Officers Beebe and Sharlow have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is protocol for all officer-involved shooting investigations.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: