Newport News Police Chief talks about investigation into recent fatal police shooting

Posted at 2:32 PM, Jul 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-15 20:54:56-04

Newport News, Va. - Newport News Police Chief Richard Myers spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon in reference to the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Kawanza Jamal Beaty.

Beaty was shot by an officer on July 4th after he allegedly pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at officers. The shooting happened in the area of 18th Street and Peterson Place around 2:00 a.m. as police were responding to earlier reports of a man armed with a shotgun.

During the press conference, Chief Myers said three officers met around 1:00 a.m. to discuss tactics for the situation. Once detectives received a update on the location of the armed man.

Kawanza Jamal Beaty Courtesy: Newport News Police

Kawanza Jamal Beaty
Courtesy: Newport News Police

When police arrived, they came into contact with Kawanza Beaty. A detective says he noticed Beaty's left arm was being held "in a stiff fashion." When an officer said he needed to speak with Beaty, he reportedly ran from the officer.

Beaty ran up a hill with three officers in pursuit, including a detective, a sergeant, and a K9 officer.

When Beaty finally turned to face the officers, all three reported seeing a sawed-off shotgun in his hands.

According to Chief Myers, a witness reported that he heard officers telling Beaty to drop the gun.

Beaty reportedly raised the shotgun in the direction of the sergeant. At that time, believing the sergeant to be in danger, the detective fired three rounds. One round struck Beaty.

Police say they believe the officer was standing approximately 20-30 feet from Beaty when the gun was fired. Chief Myers says the use of a Taser was not an option in this situation due to the distance between the officers and Beaty.

Medical assistance was summoned to the scene immediately. Beaty was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy report has not yet been received from the Medical Examiner.

Shotgun found at the scene

Shotgun found at the scene

The shotgun was located approximately 10 feet from Beaty's feet. There were were no shells found inside the weapon. After the incident, it was discovered that the gun had been reported stolen from Hampton.

Chief Myers says the Newport News Police Department expects the criminal investigation to be completed in late August.

All three officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave with pay. All of the officers have served at least eight years. The narcotics detective who fired the shots has one prior incident on his record while neither the K9 officer nor the patrol sergeant have any prior incidents.

When the Commonwealth's Attorney announces the findings following the investigation, names of the officers will be released.


Photo of shotgun released after man is shot and killed by Newport News officer