NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police said they had ten prior encounters in 2016 with a man whom an officer shot near an apartment complex on St. Thomas Drive early Wednesday morning.
The man was in stable condition, according to Newport News Police officials.
Police spokesman Officer Brandon Maynard said officers responded to the area at 1:45 a.m., after receiving reports from a friend that the 36-year-old man was having suicidal thoughts.
When officers arrived, they made contact with him over the phone. More officers were then called out to the scene.
Police said the man was wearing a bullet-proof vest marked “POLICE” and was armed with an A-R 15 rifle as well as a handgun and knife. Officers surrounded the man and two of them engaged him, police said.
According to Maynard, the man was threatening “suicide by police” during the confrontation.
During the altercation, police “challenged” the man and told him drop the weapon, police said. At some point, one of the officers shot the man at least once in the stomach, according to officers.
Neighbor Harold Coston said the commotion awakened him Wednesday morning. It was right outside his door.
“I heard a loud noise. I’m sure it was a gunshot. It sounded like it was right outside the door, and I jumped up and I come out and I seen policemen running around…He laid there and was being attended to by the other officers for five minutes or so before an ambulance showed up,” Coston said.
Coston said he did not recognize the man and initially thought he was a police officer because of the vest.
“It didn’t seem professional as far as what the person was doing, on the ground doing. He was in a lot of pain and he was cursing and complaining about being shot,” he said.
Coston said police taped off his home and told him to stay inside.
Lauren Adams, a witness at the scene told WAVY News’ Rico Bush, “I looked out the window, and I see officers running on the side of the building, running on the other side and they surrounded the building. There were so many. All of the sudden I heard, ‘Get down, get down.”
Adams also said, “I heard one gunshot and police officers were still yelling. I couldn’t make out what they were saying.”
Medics took the man to the hospital for treatment.
No officers were injured.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure, Maynard said. He said police did not know how the man got the ballistic vest. Police said they will not release the man’s identity because he is not being criminally charged at this time.