Buffalo police officer Joseph Meli, 25, will face no charges after fatally shooting 47-year-old Marcus Neal this past December.
On the night of December 11, Neal was suspected of stealing from the Wegmans on Amherst St. in Buffalo. Security officials went to confront him, but he fled the store, authorities say.
After Buffalo police became involved in the search, which led them to Gladstone St. near Deer St., it was discovered that the suspect was on a roof on Gladstone.
Three officers were eventually on the roof, but none had their weapons drawn.
As police urged him to get off the roof, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says Neal reached into his backpack.
Officers told him to show his hands, but he did not. At this point, Officer Meli and another officer drew their weapons.
Neal then pulled out a knife, Flynn says. Officers told him to put the knife down, but then, he started to cut himself, Flynn said.
Neal told officers he wasn’t going to put the knife down, and that officers would have to shoot him.
An officer then pulled out mace and proceeded to spray Neal, Flynn says. Following this, Flynn says Neal picked up some snow to wipe the mace off his face.
With the knife in hand, Flynn says Neal started walking toward the officers.
The officers, all three with guns drawn at this point, told Neal to stop coming toward them, Flynn says.
Prosecutors say Neal then lunged at Officer Meli, who proceeded to shoot him three times.
Other emergency responders arrived at the scene to treat Neal, who was “yelling and screaming,” Flynn says.
Neal was taken to ECMC, where he was pronounced dead on the morning of December 12.
Flynn says Neal tested positive for a controlled substance, but did not specify what it is. Flynn did say that the substance may have had an impact on his behavior that night.
According to Flynn, Officer Meli was acting in self-defense and was “justified in his shots.”