Four police officers who shot and killed a 17-year-old boy near Syracuse last year will not face criminal charges, New York's attorney general announced Friday.
A lengthy investigation into the death of Judson Albahm, of Jamesville, by Letitia James’ office has concluded a prosecutor “would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the actions of the officers … were justified,” the attorney general said in a statement.
Albahm’s mother had called 911 asking for help locating her son, who left her home after a mental health crisis team arrived for a previously scheduled evaluation, the report said.
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Four officers from three agencies fired at Albahm on March 4, 2021, after authorities say he pointed what appeared to be a handgun at them. The weapon turned out to be an air gun that looked like a real firearm, officials said. Some officers had been informed Albahm had mental health problems and owned air guns, but others did not know, the attorney general’s office said.
Albahm's family questioned the use of deadly force. In a lawsuit filed against police, they claim the officers were not trained in how to deal with people in a mental health crisis and should have known the teen's weapon was just a BB gun, The Post-Standard reported last month.
A family spokesman told the newspaper Friday, "We are happy that after more than a year we have an official report, however at this time we have not had a chance to review the entire report and will comment at a later time.”
A message seeking comment was left Friday with the family's attorney.
Responding to the 911 call, officers found Albahm in the woods near his home and followed him for about 30 minutes. Several officers saw what appeared to be a pistol in Albahm's hand and ordered him numerous times to drop it, the report said.
Albahm pointed the air gun at two officers who had not been informed he owned air guns, and those two officers and two other officers opened fire, the report said. None of the four officers who shot at the teen was wearing a body camera.
Albahm was shot several times by DeWitt police investigators Lucas Byron and Matthew Menard, state trooper Corey Fike and Sgt. Amy Bollinger of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the report said.
The report made several recommendations including that all law enforcement officers be equipped with body cameras and that the state enact stronger laws to regulate imitation weapons.