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Officer shot before returning fire and killing driver in Albany, New York, police chief says

Apr 17, 2024, 4:06 AM | Updated: 1:14 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A police officer in Albany, New York, was “ambushed” by a driver following an attempted traffic stop early Wednesday and was shot in the leg before returning fire, killing the man, the city’s police chief said.

The officer was hospitalized at Albany Medical Center and was alert and conscious, Police Chief Eric Hawkins said at a news conference outside the hospital.

“We just experienced one of an officer’s worst nightmares, and that is being ambushed performing a routine part of their duties,” he said.

The officer had seen a speeding vehicle about 12:30 a.m. and there was a short pursuit, but the vehicle didn’t stop and he stopped following it, Hawkins said. A short time later, the officer saw the vehicle parked along a road.

The officer approached the vehicle, Hawkins said. He was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from it when the man, who was out of the car, “emerges and immediately fires shots at the officer and strikes the officer,” Hawkins said.

The officer immediately returned fire, Hawkins said. The names of the officer and the man were not released.

Hawkins said he looked at footage from the officer’s body-worn camera. “There’s no other way to describe this but an ambush,” he said. “This officer was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing.”

The footage, released by Albany police, shows the officer approaching a vehicle with its driver-side door open when a man emerges from behind the car with his arm raised and pointed at the officer. Two loud bangs are heard and the officer begins to run away, making pained noises before saying “shots fired” as the video cuts off.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said at the news conference that there are indications that the man “is somebody with a troubled history, not necessarily a criminal history.”

She said she was grateful that she was able to speak to the officer.

“This was not what he expected to happen today during his shift,” she said.

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Officer shot before returning fire and killing driver in Albany, New York, police chief says