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Police ID officers involved in Schenectady gunman shooting

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Police ID officers involved in Schenectady gunman shooting

Schenectady police say detectives Ryan Kent and Brett Ferris were the officers involved in the fatal
Police ID officers involved in Schenectady gunman shooting
Schenectady firefighter/paramedics tend to the victim of a shooting at the corner of First Avenue and Sunset Street Monday, June 13, 2016. He was taken by ambulance to Ellis Hospital for treatment and is listed in critical condition.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
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Schenectady police say detectives Ryan Kent and Brett Ferris were the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a man with a handgun in Mont Pleasant on Monday.

Joshua Scism, 33, of 1339 1st Ave., was shot by a detective at approximately 5:10 p.m. after he drew a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Kent and Ferris in the area of 1st Avenue and Sunset Street, according to police.

Police identified the two detectives on Tuesday as Kent, an officer for 10 years, and Ferris, an officer for nine years. Police did not say which detective shot Scism.

Police gave the incorrect spelling of Scism’s name on Monday. It’s spelled Scism, not Sciscm as previously reported.

Police said they served a search warrant Monday evening at Scism’s home at 1339 1st Ave., which is a house with multiple units. Police declined to comment on the warrant. Police also declined to discuss Scism’s criminal history.

Scism was charged in June 2015 with second-degree assault and second-degree strangulation, both felonies, for allegedly hitting a man with a steel pipe and choking him during an argument, according to Daily Gazette archives.

Archives show Scism was also charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having an electronic stun gun and a billy club in his car in August 2012. Police said at the time that he also had been convicted of second-degree rape in June 2006.

The detectives were sitting inside their vehicle, which was parked on 1st Avenue near the intersection of Sunset Street, when they were approached by Scism, police said.

Kent and Ferris, who were dressed in plain clothes, had a brief discussion with Scism before he walked away, police said. It is unclear what they discussed.

While walking away Scism lifted his shirt, exposing a handgun in his waistband. Kent and Ferris got out of their vehicle, drew their weapons and identified themselves as police officers.

Scism then drew his weapon and pointed it at them, according to police. One detective, who is still unidentified, fired several rounds striking Scism.

It is unclear at this time if Scism fired his weapon, police said.

Scism was treated on the scene by members of the Schenectady Fire Department and taken to Ellis Hospital by Mohawk Ambulance, where he later died of his injuries. He was shot at least once, police said.

The officers were not injured. An autopsy on Scism was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Residents of the home at 1339 1st Ave., including several children, were evacuated by police. It is unclear why Scism pulled a gun on the officers.

The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police are investigating the incident.

Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said Kent and Ferris were put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, and still have an on-duty status.

Bennett said details of the incident and information about Scism will not be released due to the ongoing investigation.

He said he requested assistance from the state police along with District Attorney Robert Carney. Bennett said the case could go to a grand jury.

Carney said on Tuesday that it’s too early to discuss specifics of the investigation.

Ferris also shot a man, Elvis Norwood, then 21, of Hattie Street, in October 2011 at The Daily Gazette building on Maxon Road Extension.

Norwood entered the Gazette’s lobby after asking a security guard to let him in for a drink of water. He wandered around the building, later displaying a steak knife with a 9-inch blade.

Two officers responded — Timothy Rizzo and Brett Ferris, who was then with the police department for four years. The officers tried to convince Norwood to drop the knife, but he did not respond.

Norwood moved toward Ferris with the knife pointed at him and Ferris fired four rounds from his weapon, striking Norwood three times in the arm, chest and stomach. Norwood survived his injuries.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, hviccaro@dailygazette.net or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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