Buffalo police body camera footage captures tense moments
Body camera footage released Thursday by Buffalo police, although jerky and hard to see at times, shows a tense police call in which two police officers could be heard yelling commands as they ran through open lots Friday and eventually shot a man suspected of fatally shooting someone just minutes earlier.
"Put the gun down!" they yell repeatedly in the video. "You're going to get shot!"
Both of the officers' videos show them with their guns drawn and then appear to show them firing repeatedly as a suspect tumbles to the ground.
Video shows the officers running to Nakeem Haynes, 27, of Buffalo, and the video then stops to show the Glock on the ground. The video picked up the sound of one of the officers kicking the gun away from Haynes' reach.
Police officials identified the officers as Jake Michienzi and Hao Tran – and both had happened upon an earlier shooting in progress at 1057 Broadway.
With their suspect wounded, Tran yelled for a first aid kit and ran to two police cars that pulled up.
A voice on the video can be heard saying: "He shot at us. He also shot someone at Domino's."
Tran can be seen opening a medical kit.
Haynes rolls over on his own at one point. He is visibly wounded, with what appears to be blood on his chest.
"Where are you hit dude?" one of the officers asks.
"Get that gun," somebody yells about the Glock.
Michienzi then zips open Haynes' jacket, but his injuries are blurred in the video.
Police officials said today that the two officers fired 21 shots at Haynes from the time Haynes reportedly fired at close range into the windshield of their patrol car to the end of the foot chase.
Haynes, who remains at Erie County Medical Center, has been charged with first-degree attempted murder.
Tran and Michienzi were both placed on administrative leave, which is department policy for officers involved in shootings.
Haynes is suspected of having fatally shot another man on Broadway minutes before, then shooting at Tran and Michienzi through the windshield of their patrol car. There was no video of the officers being shot at.
The video released Thursday runs 12 minutes and 37 seconds, and it includes footage from four police officers who were involved, including the two officers who fired their weapons, as well as maps and descriptions of the events that took place.
It also includes photos of the bullet hole in the middle of the police car windshield, an apparent bullet hole in one of the officer's holsters and the Glock handgun that police said that Haynes was carrying.
The series of events began at about 7:15 p.m. when two patrol officers, identified as Stephen Clapp and Joshua Aponte, were responding to an unrelated situation at the Aldi at 998 Broadway. The video explained that at the same time, two other officers – Michienzi and Tran – "happened upon a shooting in progress at 1057 Broadway."
The footage from Clapp's and Aponte's body cameras show the officers in the parking lot when the sound of five gunshots can be heard.
The officers immediately get into their patrol car and head east on Broadway, with Aponte driving.
Clapp's body cam video picks up audio from the radio calls.
"Shots fired! He shot at me!" a voice can be heard screaming over the radio.
In the video, Aponte and Clapp turn right onto Sears Street and stop the car in the middle of the street.
"Where the (expletive) are they?" one of the officers can be heard saying.
Then, more gun shots are heard.
Clapp runs toward the entrance of a laundromat toward someone. The image of the person is blurred. He calls for an ambulance: "Get ADI rolling here. We got one down here."
That victim would later be identified as Atlas Johnson, 63, of Buffalo, who died of his injuries.
Aponte's body cam shows that while Clapp attends to the injured man, he runs down Sears as the gun shots continue.
"Get in the house," he can be heard yelling to someone as he runs down the street. "Get in the house," he says to another person.
Video shows Aponte running through a parking lot, which, according to the map on the video, is located between Sears and Playter streets.
"Yo! Slow down," he yells to a car as he approaches Michienzi and Tran, who are standing next to the Haynes, who is lying face down on the ground.
"He's shot," an officer is heard saying.
"You're shot?" another officer asks.
"No, he's shot," someone clarifies.
Aponte yells to a bystander: "Somebody grab water. Grab water and a towel!"
A woman yells to someone else: "Get water and a towel."
Michienzi can be seen in the video claiming Haynes shot at him and Tran.
"He (expletive) shot at us," he says, and feels around his chest. "I don't know if he hit me."
There was some confusion about the location of the incident. At first, the officers said they were on Kent Street, but it turned out they were on Playter.
The footage from Tran and Michienzi began just after they were shot at and had exited their vehicle.
"I believe that the actions that the officers took were within the confines of the law and within the confines of department policy," in terms of the use of deadly physical force, Buffalo Police Comissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference Thursday.
There is no body-cam footage of the portion where the suspect reportedly fired at police because the officers did not have their cameras activated at that time, Gramaglia said.
The officers were on patrol and not on an active call when they came across the initial shooting in front of the laundromat. Officers only activate their cameras when on a call, the commissioner said.
They activated their cameras during the pursuit. They are required to turn them on as soon as it is "safe to do so," Gramaglia said.
The body cameras are not designed to be recording throughout an entire 10-hour shift, he added. The batteries wouldn't last the whole shift, he said.
Gramaglia said Johnson, the man killed in front of the laundromat, was killed "in cold blood," and called him "an innocent man."