Editor’s Note: This footage includes graphic content some viewers may find disturbing.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s Office of Special Investigations released its report on this shooting on September 16. The investigation determined Simran Gordon fired first, and appeared to point his gun at an officer after another officer shot him.
“Under these circumstances, given the law and the evidence, a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer who fired was justified,” the report said, “and OSI determined that criminal charges could not be pursued against the officer.”
The investigation did admonish the Rochester Police Department for issuing statements in the wake of the shooting regarding Gordon being a suspect in multiple homicides.
“The statements were made in such a manner that the public could have inferred that the officers’ actions were justified due to Mr. Gordon’s alleged prior conduct,” the report said. “there is no evidence that the responding officers knew who Mr. Gordon was, and therefore prior conduct did not have an impact on the officers’ decision to use deadly physical force.”
“OSI recommends that at minimum, any statement made by a police department or law enforcement agency about a decedent’s alleged prior conduct must be well founded, appropriately framed as a mere allegation unless referring to a documented conviction, and prominently accompanied by a caution that the alleged prior conduct is not relevant to the officers’ conduct in the matter at hand.”
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Police Department released body camera footage Tuesday from a fatal shootout in a Family Dollar.
This video was edited by the Rochester Police Department. It does not depict a complete sequence of events before, during, or after the October 6 shootout in the Family Dollar on West Main Street. On Wednesday, the New York Attorney General’s Office released raw footage, which can be seen below.
The video released by the RPD Tuesday begins with a message from Interim Chief Herriott-Sullivan. “It’s always been my goal to be as transparent as possible with the public and to share as much information as we can while keeping in mind that we have to respect the evidentiary value in certain instances,” she says.
The video then cuts to a timeline of events.
In the footage of the event, police entering the store ask “Does anyone have a gun in here?” An officer walks past two people, then sees the suspect in a blue hoodie standing behind the counter near an employee.
“Let me see your hands,” the officer says. “Get out of your pocket, get your hands out of your pocket,” the officer says, raising his gun. The suspect then sprints away into the store, and police give chase.
An officer appears to grab hold of the suspect, who seems to stumble or fall. Six gunshots can be heard. According to captions on the video, the suspect fired the first shot, the primary officer fired the next four, then the primary officer fired one final shot roughly 2 seconds later. At that point both officers begin telling the suspect to drop the gun.
The video then switches to the other officer’s body camera perspective before showing both perspectives at the same time. This portion of the footage is captioned.
Investigators identified the suspect as Simran Gordon, 24. They said he walked into the Family Dollar on West Main Street in Rochester Wednesday evening and held the manager at gunpoint. They said customers were inside the store at the time, and one employee was able to get to the back to call 911.
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan initially said two officers responding to that call walked in on the robbery in progress. She said Gordon ran through the store, and both he and the officers opened fire. Gordon was killed in the shootout.
“The officers did not initially render first aid to Mr. Gordon because they had to ensure there were
no other suspects in the store or at the scene for everyone’s safety,” Herriott-Sullivan said in a release issued Tuesday. “Our condolences go out to the family of Mr. Gordon.”
Captions on the body camera footage provided by police say an ambulance was called 30 seconds after the final shot was fired.
Attorneys for Gordon’s family released a statement Tuesday evening, saying, “Sadly, today’s release of the body-worn camera footage of two Rochester Police Department Officers on the night of Simran’s tragic death leaves us with more questions than answers. We call upon the Attorney General’s Office to conduct a complete and transparent investigation into his death and we will await more information from their investigation. We will continue to seek justice for Simran and his family.”
The New York State Attorney Generals’ Office has taken on the investigation, as is protocol for any fatal shooting involving a police officer in the state.
A statement Wednesday from the Rochester Police Locust Club:
“We commend the bravery and professionalism of those officers involved last week in stopping a violent robbery in progress. They put their lives on the line for others when a violent individual made the choice to commit multiple crimes, including shooting at them.
Some City Council members have now started to release statements that try to support the officers’ heroic actions. Others didn’t even bother addressing the community about two young officers nearly being murdered. These politicians have agendas and have lost sight of the fact that an armed robber targeted community members and tried to kill a cop in this city. There should be no agendas, there should be no sides – everyone should be outraged by this brazen act.
The City Council statements talk about the complexity of police-community relations. They fail to take ownership for their contribution when they turned their backs on officers and on community members facing unprecedented levels of violent crime. City Council members should be about this community and not about agendas. They need to start listening to the victims in this city and stop pandering for politics.”
On Wednesday the New York State Attorney General’s Office released unedited police worn body camera footage from the incident:
Police officer 1
Police officer 2
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Watch the full RPD provided video
Presumptive Mayor Malik Evans statement
Today, I watched the body-worn camera footage of the Officer-involved shooting on October 6th at an attempted armed robbery at the Family Dollar on West Main Street. I offer my condolences to the family of Simran S. Gordon. This incident serves as a reminder of the dangers front-line workers face in our community daily. My thoughts are with the store employees and officers who stepped into a violent situation. I stand committed to ending gun violence and the trauma it is causing in our community. We must work together to build a stronger, safer community.
Rochester City Council statement
Today, the City Council viewed the body worn camera footage from the October 6 attempted armed robbery at the Family Dollar on West Main Street. We would like to start by offering our condolences to the family members and loved ones of the deceased, Simran S. Gordon. Chair of Public Safety and the Roc Against Gun Violence Coalition, President Lightfoot said, “I will continue to pray and work toward a Rochester where our citizens do not resort to such violent acts, and where no lives are lost as a result of gun violence.”
Nevertheless, the officers involved in this incident upheld their duty to protect innocent bystanders and kept the customers and employees safe from harm, and we must commend them for that. The bravery of the staff who called 911 and the heroic acts of the responding officers saved any additional lives from being lost. We encourage anyone impacted by the trauma of this incident to seek support by calling 211, or by talking to a trusted family member, loved one, or professional.
While we often focus on the complexity of police-community relations and the need for reform in our public safety system, we also need to acknowledge the difficult nature of a police officer’s job and their willingness to step into the line of fire to protect citizens.Signed — City Council President Loretta C. Scott, Vice President Willie J. Lightfoot, Northeast District Representative Michael A. Patterson, and Northwest District Representative Jose M. Peo