30-year-old Marine Corps vet William Clark III was shot dead inside his Rotterdam, NY home on Sunday. Earlier that day, his mother called 911 saying he was “roaming the house swinging kitchen knives.”
Police say they tried using non-lethal means at first, but Clark kept coming at them with a knife and officers were forced to open fire, said State Police Major William Keeler.
Keeler explained that a sergeant tried to deploy a Taser against Clark, “but the electrified prongs did not make contact” and Clark stabbed the sergeant in his bulletproof vest. He then allegedly slashed a second officer on the back of his head. That officer then shot at Clark four times – hitting him in the head and chest.
Clark suffered from mental health issues, but had reportedly stopped taking his prescribed medication recently. It’s unclear what psychotropic drugs he was taking and whether his mental troubles were service-related.
Clark served five years as a rifleman with the Marines, but separated from the USMC in 2013. He did a seven-month tour in Iraq in 2009 and was awarded four medals: the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal–according to twcnews.com.
Police say they didn’t treat this as a standoff situation, because they had an obligation to go in and “assess the threat.” They believe the shooting was justified and Keeler says their investigation is 99.9 percent wrapped up.
On Wednesday, Rotterdam Police said that all of their officers are trained on how to deal with individuals under extreme emotional duress, including PTSD.
Police said Wednesday that Clark had prior interactions with police and has been known to area law enforcement for several years.
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