The Latest: Police chief defends officers in fatal shooting

AP News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2016 11:26 AM

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Latest on a fatal shooting by Norfolk, Virginia, police (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

The police chief in Norfolk, Virginia, is defending the officers involved in the city's fifth fatal shooting by police this year.

The police department is conducting an internal investigation, but Chief Michael Goldsmith said at a news conference Friday that he stands behind the two officers who shot 43-year-old Willie Demetrius James.

Goldsmith says the evidence supports the officers' statement that they fired when James lunged at them with a knife Thursday evening. He said police have recovered the weapon, which appears to be a large kitchen knife. Goldsmith said the unnamed officers, who have been placed on administrative leave, are "devastated."

City Council member Paul Riddick said he will ask the FBI to investigate the rash of police shootings. Goldsmith said he welcomes scrutiny, but added: "I trust my officers."

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10:30 a.m.

A city council member in Norfolk, Virginia, says he will ask the FBI to investigate a series of fatal shootings by police.

Paul Riddick called for the investigation after Norfolk police said they shot and killed a knife-wielding man who lunged at officers Thursday evening. It's the fifth fatal shooting involving Norfolk police this year.

Riddick said in a telephone interview that police shootings "have reached an epidemic proportion" in Norfolk. He said he believes federal authorities are best equipped to figure out why it keeps happening. He said he's especially concerned about the way police interact with mentally ill residents.

Norfolk police say two officers were investigating a stolen vehicle in the latest incident. Names and races of the officers and the man who was shot have not been released.

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5:20 a.m.

Police in Norfolk, Virginia, say they shot and killed a knife-wielding man who lunged at officers at a home.

Multiple news outlets report the incident took place Thursday evening in the Tidewater Gardens neighborhood.

Norfolk police spokeswoman Cpl. Melinda Wray said two officers were investigating a stolen vehicle when there was a disturbance at a home nearby.

Wray says officers entered the home and attempted to give verbal commands to the man. She says the man lunged with a knife and officers fired several times.

Wray says the man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His identity hasn't yet been released.

The officers have been placed on administrative duty pending the ongoing investigation.

This is the fifth fatal shooting involving police this year in Norfolk.