Police in Sullivan, New York, say the teen they shot and killed Thursday afternoon may have committed “suicide by cop” after discovering the gun the boy had been carrying was fake.
Justin R. Arnold of Cazenovia, New York, reportedly called in a false report to police claiming that a vehicle had been carjacked by gunpoint and gave a description of the family car he was driving, according to WKTV.
When police spotted the vehicle, they attempted to pull it over but instead Arnold took them on a high speed chase, ending at a dead end road.
That’s when police say Arnold exited the car and pointed what looked like a handgun at the officers, refusing to lower his weapon when police ordered him to.
When Arnold continued to refuse to drop the gun, Canastota Police Chief James Zophy and Officer Sean Barten opened fire on Arnold, shooting him dead.
As they approached Arnold, they discovered that he had not been brandishing a handgun, but a pellet gun.
New York State Police Captain Mark Lincoln said the officers “performed their jobs properly” since they were led to believe that Arnold had committed an armed robbery of the vehicle. State police later determined that the 911 call had been made on Arnold’s cell phone.
The county medical examiner’s office is continuing its investigation into Arnold’s motives.