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State Police: Deadly force justified in Glenville incident

August 25, 2017 05:28 PM

LATHAM – The New York State Police concluded the use of deadly force was justified in a July incident that left a Shenendehowa fifth grade teacher dead and a Glenville police officer injured.

Skinner's death was ruled "suicide by cop," State Police said Friday.

State Police BCI Captain Richard O'Brien and Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney gave an update on the investigation Friday at Troop G Headquarters in Latham. According to investigators' review, the eight Glenville and Scotia Police officers who rolled up on 10 Pashley Road on July 28th thought they were responding to a domestic incident.

A 911 caller had told dispatchers his boyfriend was upstairs with a gun, then hung up without giving his name.

"The last thing he did in the call was to scream, so he made it into a very threatening situation," said Bob Carney, Schenectady County District Attorney.

The caller was 32-year-old Brian Skinner. Carney says Skinner made it all up in order to lure police to his house. There's no evidence Skinner had even had a boyfriend before.

When police saw a man with a 12-inch kitchen knife run out of the house and towards them, troopers say the danger was real. Captain Richard O'Brien says officers told him to drop the weapon, but once Skinner was within six yards three officers fired. He says the use of deadly force was justified, and there was no realistic way to take Skinner alive.

"We firmly believe not taking action could've resulted in serious injury or death of one of the officers," said O'Brien.

Three officers fired their weapons. Six of the nine shots officers fired hit Skinner. One shot hit Officer Ben Ferretti in the stomach. Troopers say they haven't figured out who fired the round yet, but plan to.

Once they see the ballistic results, the police chiefs from Glenville and Scotia will decide on discipline or retraining the officers.

District Attorney Carney says Skinner had soot on his hands consistent with his car's tailpipe.  Inside the house, investigators found evidence that Skinner had tried to kill himself with carbon monoxide inside his garage. Carney says investigators verified Skinner had attempted suicide at least three times before his shooting death.  

An autopsy revealed Skinner suffered a small stroke within three weeks of his death. The cause and effects of that stroke were unknown to Carney.  

Carney says it's clearly suicide by cop. But the cops are the ones who are left to deal with the results.

"I know this is our job. This is what we signed up for, we agreed to take these responsibilities, but I don't think anybody wants to have to do it," said Chief Steve Janik, Glenville PD.

Ferretti has been out of the hospital and is still recovering. He plans to rejoin Glenville PD when he can.

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WNYT Staff

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