An Ithaca Police Department officer shot and killed an individual Saturday morning after he ambushed the officer with a knife at IPD headquarters, police say. Police Chief Dennis Nayor called the attack a “random” act of violence.
On Monday, IPD released a photo of the deceased attacker, Michael DeCastro, 57, of Ithaca.
The IPD asked all individuals with information that could be relevant in identifying a motive for the attack to contact the Ithaca Police Investigations Division at (607) 216-3230, or through their anonymous tip line at www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips. The plea was released in a statement on Monday.
Information could include “any prior statements, actions, or suspicious behavior that may have been demonstrated by Michael DeCastro leading up to the incident,” the statement said.
In a press conference at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nayor identified the attacker as DeCastro. That morning, police say DeCastro entered the headquarters on E. Clinton Street at around 6:30 a.m. with a “large butcher-type knife with a nine inch blade,” assaulting an officer inside the lobby.
The entire attack lasted for just “20 to 25 seconds,” Nayor said. The officer sustained minor injuries before fatally shooting DeCastro.
Nayor called the act a “completely random and unprovoked vicious attack on a police officer.” He noted that no community members were in the lobby at the time.
Police did not provide the identity of the officer, citing the active investigation. Surveillance footage of the attack does exist, and will be released to the public in the “very near future,” Nayor said.
On Facebook, Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 said he viewed the footage, and had “no doubt” that the unidentified officer was “entirely justified in his actions.”
As of Saturday’s press conference, the officer had been released from a “regional medical center.” Nayor said more details will be provided as the investigation continues.
This post has been updated.