February 24, 2010

Officials Release Names of Officer, Victim in Shooting

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New details emerged yesterday about the fatal police shooting of an Ithaca man that occurred Tuesday evening near Pete’s Grocery. Shawn Greenwood, a 29-year old from Ithaca, was shot and killed by an Ithaca police officer after Greenwood hit another officer with his minivan. At a press conference yesterday, Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said her office’s investigation into the shooting will stretch for weeks or months, but she did not want the process to divide the community.

“This tragedy is multifaceted. Many lives have been changed forever in ways that no one would have wanted,” Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson said at the press conference.

At about 5 p.m. Tuesday, officers from several police agencies approached Greenwood’s minivan while he was parked outside Pete’s Grocery on West Buffalo Street. The officers targeted Greenwood as part of a multi-agency narcotics investigation, Wilkinson said.

According to Wilkinson, police attempted to physically remove Greenwood from his van, but he resisted. Although police attempted to incapacitate Greenwood with a Taser, he drove his minivan over a curb and struck an officer from the Dryden Police Department, who Wilkinson would not identify because he was a witness to the incident.

The officer was thrown onto the hood of Greenwood’s vehicle and fell a few feet in front of the van. The vehicle accelerated forward, and the front of the van went over the officer, Wilkinson said. Other police officers on both sides of the vehicle screamed to Greenwood to stop, but he ignored their commands.

At that point, IPD Sgt. Bryan Bangs fired on Greenwood. It appeared that three shots were fired, Wilkinson said. She emphasized how quickly the situation developed.

“Approximately three seconds transpired from the beginning of this to the end,” she said.

Both Greenwood and the injured police officer were transported to Cayuga Medical Center. The officer was treated and released Tuesday night.

The District Attorney’s office is investigating whether the use of lethal force was justified under state law, Wilkinson said. This is the first time her office has dealt with a police officer firing a weapon during her five years as District Attorney, she said.

Greenwood’s girlfriend is expecting a baby, and he was trying to reform himself, the Ithaca Journal reported.

“This is a tragic loss. This isn’t how investigations are supposed to end,” Wilkinson said.

“As mayor, I urge and hope that everyone in the community remains calm during this very, very difficult time,” Peterson said.

Bangs, who Wilkinson said was hired by IPD in 1999, has been put on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

“The days and weeks ahead of us are going to be difficult,” Wilkinson added. “Let’s work together to get through this.”

Original Author: Michael Linhorst