Man with knife ran toward police officer before he was fatally shot, video footage shows
Mar. 23—Video footage released Thursday shows a man with a knife in an apartment run toward a Frederick police officer — ignoring repeated commands to drop the knife — before officers fatally shoot him. The footage was released by the Maryland Attorney General's Independent Investigations Division, which is investigating the shooting.
A few minutes earlier, when police found Joseph Sherrill hiding in a closet, Sherrill told officers they would have to shoot him if they wanted to take him to jail, body camera footage shows.
At about 6:20 p.m. on March 4, police went to an apartment in the 1500 block of North East Street to try to find Sherrill, 44, of Frederick, who was wanted on a probation violation warrant.
A woman who answered the door, and who said Sherrill was her ex-husband, repeatedly told police that Sherrill was not there and said they could not search the apartment. But after a few rounds of questions, she relented and let the officers in.
Footage shows the moment when an officer spots Sherrill crouching in a bedroom closet. Then, when the officer saw Sherrill had a knife, the officer backs out of the room.
"You're gonna have to shoot me," Sherrill tells police in the video. "I'm not going to jail."
After the officers saw Sherrill and the knife, the woman stands between Sherrill and the officers, but one officer dragged her out of the way.
Officers yelled "Drop the knife!" numerous times at Sherrill. The officers retreated to a living room area, but continued their command to drop the knife.
When Sherrill held the knife in the air and ran toward one officer, officers fired their guns at him, hitting him.
The officers began performing first aid on Sherrill, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Six shots can be heard being fired in the video. It was unclear how many shots hit Sherrill and how many came from each officer.
Per state law, the Maryland Attorney General's Independent Investigations Division investigates all civilian deaths in which police were involved.
The division was supposed to release body camera footage within 14 days of the incident, but it was delayed since investigators had to conduct witness interviews, the Maryland Attorney General's Office said in a news release on Thursday.
According to the release, officers were looking for Sherrill since he had an open probation violation warrant.
Officers Robert Hess and Fahad Mirza shot Sherrill, authorities have said previously.
Hess has been with the department for five-and-a-half years and Mirza has been with Frederick police for eight months. Both were assigned to the agency's patrol division.
A third officer was at the scene with them. This officer did not fire his weapon and was not identified.
After the shooting, Hess and Mirza were put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. As of Thursday, they were still on administrative leave, Frederick police spokesman Allen Etzler said in an interview.
The footage, a total of about 11 minutes, is from cameras worn by each of the three officers on the scene.
The first body camera footage is from the perspective of the unidentified officer. It shows the entrance to the apartment where they were trying to find Sherrill.
The woman answers the door and repeatedly says Sherrill is not at the apartment. The woman then let the police officers into the apartment to look around.
After officers find Sherrill in the bedroom closet and they retreat into the living room, Mirza's body camera shows Sherrill take two swigs from a bottle, and put it on the floor, before starting to move into the living room toward Mirza, with the knife in front of him.
As Sherrill continues toward Mirza, officers fire their weapons and fatally hit Sherrill.
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