ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) concluded today that a prosecutor would not be able to prove any wrongdoing of the police officers who shot and killed David Wandell after a police chase through the city of Elmira in the summer of 2021.
The AG’s Office said that following a comprehensive investigation involving interviews with police officers and civilian witnesses, a review of radio transmissions, ballistics testing, crime scene evidence, photographs, and body camera footage, a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the officers who shot 52-year-old Wandell were justified.
New details include that Wandell was not in possession of a Black Revolver when he pulled a gun on an officer in Eldrige park as initially reported, but an airsoft pistol with the orange safety tip removed, according to the AG’s Office’s report. The report said that five responding officers shot at Wandall in Woodlawn cemetery after he raised a gun towards the group, with two of the shots proving fatal.
According to the AG’s Office, in the case of the Wandell shooting, the officers who fired saw him raise what appeared to be a regular gun at them and had heard over the radio that he had fired at an officer earlier in Eldrige Park. However, in Eldridge Park, the AG’s office said that Wandell raised the gun at an officer and didn’t fire, but she fired at him, though the shots missed. The officer then stumbled back, prompting other police who saw the encounter to think she had been shot.
Along with the prior warning that he had a history of violence, OSI determined that criminal charges could not be pursued against the officers.
“In each and every case we review, my office remains committed to conducting thorough, fair, and transparent investigations,” said Attorney General James. “After an extensive review of the facts of this case, OSI determined that a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that these officers’ actions were justified.”
18 News did request body cam footage weeks after the incident, but it was denied after officials said the case was still under investigation.