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DA and police investigate officer-involved fatal shooting in Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.

The Syracuse Police Department is investigating an officer-involved fatal shooting that happened Sunday night in the Syracuse University area. This is the third fatal shooting involving police to occur in Syracuse this year.

Police said an officer pulled over Deric Brown, 41, of Syracuse for a traffic stop because his car’s lights were not completely on. While speaking with Brown, the officer noticed the handle of a handgun inside the car. The officer ordered Brown to show his hands, the officer ran back to his vehicle, and that is when police said Brown got out of his car and started firing multiple shots at the officer. The officer returned fire, shooting Brown at least once. Brown died a short time later after being taken to Upstate University Hospital.  

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating the incident.

“I think that when all of the witness statements and all the physical evidence and when the district attorney releases that, I believe that you will see that this is an unfortunate event but that we had an excellently trained police officer who made the right decisions,” Miner said. "It's our goal to be as transparent as possible. When we have a comfort level that the information we're giving to the public is rock solid and not speculation, we release it then. No two events are the same and that's why our response to those events are different as well."

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said it was miraculous that the officer was not injured.

"If you ask any police officer, any place in America and you say what are the three things you look to avoid throughout your entire career, this would rank right up there in the top three," Fowler said.

Fowler said there is video from a third party that they are reviewing but the officer was not equipped with a video camera.

Another incident earlier this year in Syracuse also involved a fatal shooting by a police officer. A grand jury cleared Officer Kelsey Francemone of any wrongdoing after she shot and killed an armed man during a Father’s Day shooting.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.