ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office concluded the RPD officer who shot and killed Rochester resident Timothy Flowers did not commit a crime.
On June 4 last year, a lengthy police pursuit ended with an exchange of gunfire between Rochester Police SWAT members and a suspect with a history of involvement in shootings. The suspect, later identified as city resident Timothy Flowers, was shot by police and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The team at the time was attempting to take Flowers into custody in connection to a triple shooting that occurred on Sumner Park on May 10, police said.
It is alleged during that incident, Flowers fired at least 14 gunshots from a 9mm handgun, at close range, into a vehicle occupied by five victims.
Three victims in the vehicle were struck, and two suffered non-life threatening injuries. The third victim is paralyzed from the neck down. At least one of the gunshots allegedly fired by Flowers also shattered the window of a nearby restaurant that was occupied by at least one individual.
The AG report released Friday found that “involved officers were justified in their conduct.” Inside the report, officials say a thorough review of interviews with police officers, civilian witnesses and a close review of radio transmissions, ballistics testing, crime scene evidence, photographs, and footage from body-worn cameras were all considered in the investigation’s conclusion.
New York’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) found that the evidence does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooting of Flowers by a member of Rochester police was a crime.
“My office upholds the highest standards of transparency and fairness in every investigation we undertake,” said Attorney General James. “After a thorough review of the facts of this incident, we concluded that officers were justified in their conduct in this case. In order to ensure continued transparency, it’s imperative that every law enforcement agency in New York is equipped with body-worn cameras, and we urge the Rochester Police Department to outfit every officer, including members of special teams, with this critical tool.”
According to the report, RPD SWAT officers located Flowers on June 4 after identifying a safe opportunity to apprehend him without endangering civilians. A foot pursuit was initiated shortly after because Flowers saw the officers and began running into a residential neighborhood.
The report alleges the suspect ran behind a house a fired at one of the officers. Upon hearing gunfire, a second officer approached the man from the other side of the house and fired at Flowers once the suspect refused to put down his gun and aimed at the responding officer.
Within the findings, officials cited the state’s justification law which allows a person to use deadly physical force to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force by another.
At the time of the shooting, former Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan said that SWAT members were not equipped with body-worn cameras because they were part of a specialized unit.
According to the report, however, OSI conducted the investigation by reviewing body-worn cameras worn by RPD officers who were at the scene of the shooting. Despite this, OSI members recommend the Rochester Police Department fit its SWAT team members with body-worn cameras.
Police documents at the time reported an officer fell during the incident and injured an arm, and an RPD officer also had a bullet hole through his uniform.
“I don’t know how he wasn’t struck,” Herriott-Sullivan said during a June 2021 press conference, “but I can tell you someone was looking out for him.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.