SCHENECTADY, N.Y – An armed man who refused to leave the offices of an upstate newspaper Saturday was apparently trying to commit suicide by having an officer shoot him, authorities said.
The shooting happened at around 4 p.m. at the offices of the Daily Gazette after a quiet news day in Schenectady, a city of more than 60,000 just outside the state capital of Albany.
The newspaper reported that the man, identified as 21-year-old Elvis Norwood, appeared weak and possibly medicated when he arrived. He talked his way into the locked building by asking a security guard for a drink of water. Then, he refused to leave and began wandering the halls.
Norwood eventually said he needed help. Daniel Beck, the newspaper's general manager, called 911 when he saw that Norwood was carrying a knife and bleeding from his hand.
The police officers who arrived at the office requested a backup officer with a stun gun, Schenectady police Sgt. Matthew Dearing told The Associated Press. Norwood charged at Officer Brett Ferris when the other officer turned to let the backup inside the locked lobby, Dearing said.
Ferris, who had been on the force for four years, fired four shots, striking Norwood at least three times, once in the arm, chest and lower abdomen, Dearing said.
"For five minutes they asked him to put the knife down," said Linda Eldeen, Beck's girlfriend, who was at the office. "He did start going at them. He looked like he was going to charge them."
Norwood was hospitalized in stable condition, Dearing said, added that it was too early to determine charges. A 9-inch-long kitchen knife was recovered, he said.
"At this point we're forced to believe that this was an attempt of suicide by the police," Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett told the newspaper.
Norwood had been picked up fewer than 10 days ago for mental health issues and taken to a hospital, Dearing told the AP.
The two initial officers were placed on administrative leave, per department policy, until they are cleared to return to duty, Dearing said.