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Schenectady man shot by detective remembered


Schenectady man shot by detective remembered

Friends of Joshua Scism, who was shot and killed by police on Monday, said he was a father of four w
Schenectady man shot by detective remembered
The site where Joshua Scism was shot by a Schenectady police detective on Monday evening is marked in chalk on Wednesday.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Friends of Joshua Scism, who was shot and killed by police on Monday, said he was a father of four who tried to protect his home on First Avenue.

Scism, 33, of 1339 First Ave., was married with four young children, friends said on Wednesday outside his home. A memorial was set up in his memory that includes candles and chalk on the sidewalk.

The chalk reads, “RIP Josh,” “RIP Grasshopper” and “RIP Josh, we love and miss you.”

Scism was shot and killed by a detective on Monday afternoon outside his home at the corner of Sunset Street and First Avenue.

Police gave the following account of the incident that took place at 5:11 p.m. on Monday:

Detectives Ryan Kent and Brett Ferris were in plain clothes and inside an unmarked vehicle at Sunset Street and First Avenue conducting an unspecified operation. Scism approached them and had a brief discussion with the detectives.

He then walked away and lifted his shirt, exposing a handgun in his waistband. Kent, an officer for 10 years, and Ferris, an officer for 9 years, got out of their vehicle, drew their weapons and identified themselves as police officers.

Scism drew his weapon and pointed it at them. One detective, who has not been identified, fired several rounds, striking Scism. It is unclear if Scism fired his weapon. The officers were unharmed.

Scism was treated on the scene by members of the Schenectady Fire Department and transported by Mohawk Ambulance to Ellis Hospital, where he later died. Police were seen escorting his wife and children out of the home shortly after the shooting.

Cynthia Mitchell, who lives down the street from Scism, said he was a good person who protected the neighborhood.

“He was trying to protect his house,” she said outside Scism’s home Wednesday morning. “People come here and have sex and people come here and shoot up. And you don’t see no police. Police never show up.”

Mitchell said she has grandchildren who are the same age as Scism’s children. She said she always saw him taking the kids to school and bringing them back home.

She said she doesn’t understand what happened and would like answers.

“Why did this happen to him? I was so frightened,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. It’s wrong. It’s totally wrong.”

Mitchell pointed to a woman on the sidewalk, Chrystal, and identified her as Scism’s wife. She had a tattoo that said “Josh” on her chest. She declined to comment and stood with a friend as he cried.

An investigation is ongoing into the shooting by the Schenectady Police Department, Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police.

An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Police Lt. Mark McCracken said the results would not be disclosed because they are part of the investigation.

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

Police declined to discuss Scism’s criminal record or details of a search warrant served at his home Monday evening.

According to Daily Gazette archives, 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.

Archives also show Scism was 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. He was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Police said at the time that he also had been convicted of second-degree rape in June 2006.

Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.

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