BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Police believe 4-year-old Roderick Geiger, III's grandmother, Charlene Fears, is responsible for his death, stabbing the little boy in the stomach and chest. Fears would later be struck down by a police officer's bullet.
A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals rests at the scene on Esser Avenue where the child was mortally stabbed by his grandmother, according to authorities. Fears was shot dead by veteran Buffalo Police officer Robert Yeates, after investigators say the woman came at him and his partner with two knives in her hands.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said, "It became a very life and death situation for the officers, and I believe at this point in our initial investigation we believe it was a totally justified shooting."
Officer Yeates, who appears in our video with this story in a dramatic rescue operation on Cazenovia Creek in 2003, is a 27-year member of the Buffalo Police Department. His partner who responded with him Wednesday on Esser Avenue, John Michael Mulderig, just graduated from the Police Academy last Friday.
They were on a routine patrol of the neighborhood when city surveillance cameras, we're told, recorded them suddenly being stopped by a neighbor.
"They got flagged down. Child was stabbed," said Derenda. "As they went to attend to the child, called for an ambulance, they were confronted by Ms. Fears."
Charlene Fears, who suffered from mental illness, is generally remembered by neighbors and relatives as a caring mother and grandmother.
Darryl Shelton said, "She was a loving grandmother. She was never that type of person."
But witnesses said her grandson had four large stab wounds in his chest.
"Char came downstairs with the knife. She wasn't saying nothing. She was just holding the two knives in her hand, and then the police asked her numerous times to just, like, stop, and she wouldn't stop, so they shot her," Shelton recounted.
Neighbors lined the street as the tragedy played out late Wednesday afternoon.
Amy Trzsaska said, "It's horrifying to know that it's right down the street from where you live and where you raise your kids, that somebody could hurt their child."
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