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Fatal shooting by police in SU area justified by grand jury

Tom Magnarelli
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick demonstrates a shooting stance while showing the gun used by Deric Brown.

An Onondaga County grand jury has determined the fatal shooting of a man by a Syracuse police officer in the Syracuse University area was justified. This was the third fatal shooting by Syracuse police officers this year.
A Syracuse University medical transport van’s dashboard camera captured the moment when Deric Brown, 41, of Syracuse, started shooting at Syracuse Police Department Officer Joseph Mauro. Witnesses confirmed Brown was the first to fire. He was pulled over by Mauro because the taillights were out on the car he was driving. Mauro noticed a gun in Brown's car and Brown refused to comply. Brown fired seven shots and was killed after Officer Mauro shot him twice.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said Brown had five previous felony convictions involving drugs and weapons. One of those convictions included a seven-year sentence Brown served for possessing an illegal handgun.

“He had made statements to a number of civilian witnesses, corroborated and recorded by the Syracuse Police Department, that if he was caught with a gun, quote, ‘you would read about him in the papers because he was not going to state prison,’” Fitzpatrick said. "It is a miracle in my judgment that Officer Mauro is alive and if Deric Brown had not succumbed to his injuries, he would now be indicted on attempted murder in the first degree."

The three fatal shootings this year by Syracuse police officers were all found justified by grand juries.

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.