April 5 (UPI) — New York’s attorney general launched an investigation Thursday into the police-involved shooting death of a bipolar Brooklyn man accused of brandishing a metal object at officers, who mistakenly believed it to be a firearm.
Saheed Vassell, 34, died Wednesday at Kings County Hospital after four New York City Police Department officers collectively fired 10 shots at him. The officers began firing after he took a “two-handed shooting stance” and pointed an object in their direction, the department said.
“Officers immediately rendered aid to the suspect and requested an ambulance,” New York police Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters during a news briefing Wednesday.
The officers confronted Vassell on Wednesday afternoon after three 911 callers told authorities they saw a man pointing a silver firearm at people on the street. Surveillance video released by the NYPD appeared to show Vassell pointing the object at multiple people.
Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said Thursday the state’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit had opened an inquiry into Vassell’s death.
“We’re committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive and fair investigation,” Schneiderman said in a tweet Thursday.