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Grand jury clears Syracuse police officer of wrongdoing in fatal Father's Day shooting

Tom Magnarelli
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick.

An Onondaga County grand jury has determined that the fatal shooting of a man by a police officer in Syracuse on Father’s Day was justified. Hundreds of people were at a cookout that turned violent. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said it started with a group of individuals that drove by and open fired on the crowd.

Firearm analysis revealed at least 4-5 semi-automatic weapons were shot at least 30 times. Officer Kelsey Francemone ran towards the gunfire. Francemone fired seven shots, one of which fatally hit 41-year-old Gary Porter in the back. Porter was armed at the time, firing his gun and fleeing the scene.

“It is nothing short of a miracle that the only person killed was Mr. Porter and no one finds any great joy in that fact at all,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said witnesses confirmed that Francemone gave Porter multiple warnings to stop and drop his weapon.

“It is tragic that Mr. Porter is dead, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen in 40 years in law enforcement a police officer act more bravely and more valiantly than Officer Francemone," Fitzpatrick said. "I completely concur with the grand jury’s decision that what she did was justified under New York law.”

Fitzpatrick said the initial shooting appears to be gang related and is still being investigated.      

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.