Advertisement

Upstate New York police officer killed with own gun

A man with no history of violence killed a police officer with his own weapon during a confrontation in a small city in upstate New York, police said.

By
Frances Burns

A man with no history of violence killed a police officer with his own weapon during a confrontation in a small city in upstate New York, police said.

David Smith, 43, an 18-year veteran of the Johnson City Police Department, was killed in a struggle with James Clark early Monday at Southern Tier Imaging. Clark, 43, was wounded by another officer and died three hours later at a hospital.

Advertisement

Smith was the first police officer in Johnson City to die in the line of duty in about 90 years, Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said.

Zikuski said Clark, who had been an MRI technician at Southern Tier since 2005, was described as a model employee. His only criminal record was a drunken driving arrest when he was in his 20s, and investigators have found no history of mental illness.

RELATED Campus police shoot man dead at Georgia state university

But on Monday Clark, appearing disturbed, told another employee there was a bomb in the building. When Smith responded, Clark ran to his squad car and reached through the window.

“Officer Smith never even got the opportunity to exit his vehicle,” a tearful Zikuski said at a news conference. “Officer Smith never stood a chance.”

After the shootout, the Endicott Police Bomb Squad searched the building and found nothing.

RELATED Chief: Slain Florida police officer now department's 'guardian angel'

Both men were married and fathers. Clark lived in Greene, northeast of Binghamton, where a neighbor remembered him as "social, friendly."

Zikuski said Clark fired all 15 rounds from Smith's gun but did not hit anyone else.

“There’s no police training in the world that could’ve prevented this,” Zikuski said. “As tragic as this is, it’s more than likely we’ll never know what happened.”

RELATED Teens believed to have killed police officer left suicide notes

Latest Headlines