NYAG to probe NYPD shooting of man with metal pipe in Brooklyn

- New York's attorney general announced Thursday that his office will investigate the NYPD's fatal shooting of an unarmed man in Brooklyn the day before.

"My office's Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit has opened an investigation into the death of Saheed Vassell," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tweeted. "We're committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive, and fair investigation."

Uniformed and plainclothes officers responding to a 911 report of a man with a gun threatening people in Crown Heights encountered Vassell, 34, near Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, the NYPD said.

Vassell "took a two-handed shooting stance" and pointed a metal object in their direction, Chief of Department Terence Monahan. The officers fired 10 times, fatally wounding Vassell.

The metal object turned out to be a metal pipe with a knob on the end. The NYPD released a photo of the pipe and excerpts from security camera footage that authorities said shows Vassell aggressively aiming the pipe at several pedestrians and then at officers.

Vassell's father, Eric, told reporters that his son had been hospitalized several times for psychiatric problems, some involving encounters with the police, but was polite and kind, the AP reported. Eric Vassell said his son had bipolar disorder and was off his medication.

Under a 2015 executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general has the authority to investigate the deaths of unarmed civilians in interactions with law enforcement.

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