2 Troy police officers wounded, suspect killed in shootout

Two city police officers are recovering from gunshot wounds and a would-be carjacker is dead after a
The scene at 112th and 5th in Lansingburgh where two Troy police officers and one suspect were reportedly shot in the late hours of Saturday, August 22, 2015.
The scene at 112th and 5th in Lansingburgh where two Troy police officers and one suspect were reportedly shot in the late hours of Saturday, August 22, 2015.

Vicinity of shooting

Two city police officers are recovering from gunshot wounds and a would-be carjacker is dead after a Saturday night shootout in Troy, police said.

Seven-year Troy Police Department veteran Joshua Comitale suffered gunshot wounds to his legs and nine-year veteran Chad Klein was shot in the shoulder. Both survived and were taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment.

The suspect in the attempted carjacking, 39-year-old Thaddeus Faison of Albany, opened fire first but was wounded repeatedly by one or both of the police officers shooting back, police officials said. He continued to struggle with officers even after being shot, and they jolted him with a Taser so they could handcuff him. He died after arriving at the hospital.

Comitale, an evidence technician and member of he department’s SWAT team, underwent one surgery Sunday morning and was expected to need additional operations. Klein, a veteran of the war in Iraq, also was expected to need surgery.

Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said both officers are well-regarded in the department.

As for their actions Saturday night, Tedesco said: “I’m not surprised that they took the act of bravery that they did.”

The investigation is ongoing, but both Tedesco and Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove said everything indicates the officers acted appropriately and in self-defense.

Much of the incident, police said, was captured on a nearby city street camera.

Tedesco recalled getting notified quickly of the shooting.

“It was like an out-of-body experience when I got the call,” he said. “I can’t imagine what they went through, the families.”

The shooting happened around 10:45 p.m. Saturday at the corner of 112th Street and Fifth Avenue in the Lansingburgh section of the city.

Moments earlier, police had received a secondhand report of the attempted carjacking, by a person possibly armed with a gun, in the area of 113th Street and East Park Place, Tedesco told reporters at a Sunday morning news conference at City Hall.

Comitale was in the area at the time and soon spotted a man matching the description of the would-be carjacker.

Comitale called for assistance and began to follow the suspect, first in his patrol car, then on foot. The suspect, later identified as Faison, first kept walking then started running.

Klein arrived at 112th and Fifth in his patrol car and Faison opened fire on him, Tedesco said. Klein was hit while still in his patrol car, a bullet entering his shoulder from behind at close range.

Klein jumped out of his car and took cover as Faison quickly fired on Comitale as well.

One or both of the officers returned fire — 12 hours later, Tedesco could not say. In all, more than 20 rounds were fired. Some bullets were recovered from nearby buildings and a vehicle. Police did not have an exact count of how many shots were fired by each individual.

Audio of police radio transmissions was posted Sunday on the Facebook page of Sidewinder Photography, which is dedicated to posting photos of emergency service personnel action in upstate New York.

On the recording, an officer, apparently Comitale, can be heard declaring he spotted the suspect, then telling the arriving officer, apparently Klein, that he was making the stop.

Faison began running toward 112th, Comitale reported. One minute, 15 seconds after Comitale says he’s making the stop, an officer, apparently Klein, gets on the radio: “I’ve been shot,” he says.

Transmissions suggest the exchange of gunfire continued for at least 30 seconds. Two or three shots can be heard at one point. About 33 seconds after Klein declared he was hit, Comitale comes on the radio: “Shots fired. Officer down. I’m hit in the leg.”

About 10 seconds later, an officer declared the suspect was down, but still moving.

Officers converging on the scene finally took Faison into custody as he continued to struggle, Tedesco said.

That Faison could put up such a struggle after being hit by multiple .45-caliber bullets from the officers’ pistols leads police to suspect drugs were involved, Tedesco said, but confirmation of that won’t come until toxicology test results are ready.

Both officers were wearing their bulletproof vests as required, but police officials did not say if either vest was hit by gunfire.

The original attempted carjacking report came in to the police via a friend of the intended victim, who apparently was chosen at random, police said.

Police believe Faison tried to take the man’s car, but the man ignored him and drove off. That man called the second individual, who then called police and said the would-be thief possibly had a gun.

The incident is being investigated by the police department and District Attorney’s Office.

An executive order Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in June to put some investigations of police shootings in the hands of the state Attorney General’s Office does not apply to this case, officials said, because the suspect was armed.

“I do want to say without hesitation that at this juncture in our investigation there is nothing that leads us to believe that they acted outside the policy or beyond the scope of law,” Tedesco said, noting that the investigation is continuing.

Abelove echoed those comments.

Police believe Faison was in Troy because he had a companion here. Officers had responded to a domestic incident at that person’s residence several weeks ago, Tedesco said.

Faison had been to state prison twice before, state officials said, first for a six-year sentence on a weapons conviction out of Orange County in 1999 and then for up to five years on an Albany County drug conviction in 2005.

The Troy Police Department was assisted at the shooting scene by the state police and in Albany by the Albany Police Department. Officers from several other agencies also assisted.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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