By Micael Kunzelman, AP
Video released Friday from a Maryland police officer’s body camera captures him warning the man to drop a knife and get down on the ground before he fatally shot the man as he charged at the officer.
Montgomery County Police Sgt. David Cohen fired the first of at least five shots about one minute after he exited his patrol vehicle and confronted Finan H. Berhe, 30, in a residential parking lot on Thursday afternoon.
“Put the knife down!” Cohen screamed as Berhe ran toward him and then stopped, momentarily backing away from the officer, who was pointing a gun at him.
“Get on the ground! I don’t want to shoot you!” Cohen shouted just before Berhe started running at the officer again.
As the officer opened fire, Berhe collapsed and dropped an object he was holding.
“Man down!” a man shouted after the shooting stopped.
Police said investigators recovered a knife that Berhe was brandishing when Cohen shot him. Berhe died at a hospital, police said. No officers were injured.
Department spokesman Rick Goodale said the officer is a white man. Berhe was black, according to online court records.
Cohen was the first officer to respond to a call about a man who threw a rock at a neighbor’s window and yelled for them to call police, according to police Chief Marcus Jones and a police department news release.
The officer performed first aid on the man before he was taken to the hospital, according to Jones.
The chief said there also is eyewitness video of the incident, but that wasn’t immediately released.
Cohen, a 17-year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure after a police shooting.
Police detectives’ findings will be submitted to the Howard County state’s attorney’s office.
That office also is reviewing evidence in another recent deadly shooting by Montgomery County police.
The police department has said an officer shot and killed 21-year-old Duncan Socrates Lemp at his home on March 12. The department has said Lemp was armed with a rifle and ignored commands to show his hands, but a lawyer for his family said an eyewitness said Lemp was asleep in his bedroom when police opened fire from outside his house in Potomac, Maryland.
While the department released the bodycam video from Berhe’s shooting a day after the incident, it hasn’t released any body camera footage from Lemp’s shooting nearly two months later. Family attorney Rene Sandler said the department hasn’t acknowledged whether any bodycam video of Lemp’s shooting exists.