NORFOLK, Va. – The use of deadly force against a 39-year-old Ocean View man during a situation in July of 2017 has been ruled justified by the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney.
According to a legal review from Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory Underwood, at the time Norfolk Police officers shot at Tyson Williams, he was armed with a gun and moving aggressively toward them, after already firing his weapon at another officer and hitting him in the chest.
Norfolk Police were called to an apartment building in the 9000 block of 14th Bay Street on the night of July 2 after dispatchers received calls reporting a person with a weapon.
Officers arrived and were told by neighbors that a man had several guns and claimed people “were trying to kill him.” One neighbor told police he confronted the man, later identified as Williams, and asked him why he was there. Williams reportedly told the neighbor that “he was on the run from some men that his wife had hired to hunt him down.” He then allegedly tried to hand the neighbor a gun, claiming he had two on him. When the neighbor told Williams he shouldn’t be hanging around because he doesn’t live there, Williams climbed through a window into an apartment that was partially vacant.
Multiple officers took up position around the apartment and attempted to negotiate with Williams for nearly two hours, during which time he fired several shots inside the apartment.
Between midnight and 12:15 a.m., a Norfolk Police Sergeant responded to the scene. He went to the back of the apartment and used a body camera as an improvised device to look inside the apartment and locate Williams.
After clearing one room and moving on to the next, the Sergeant heard a gunshot and reported immediately feeling a round impact his chest. The round hit his ballistic vest and likely saved his life.
After hearing the gunshots, the officers at the front of the building spotted Williams moving quickly toward the front door. Officers yelled at Williams to “Stop” and “Drop the gun!” but he failed to comply.
It was then that two officers near the front door fired at Williams.
Officers immediately began to render first aid to Williams before paramedics arrived. He was pronounced deceased at 1:01 a.m. An autopsy determined he died from a shotgun wound consisting of six pellet wounds to his front torso. A toxicology report revealed he had Amphetamine and Methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.
Several officers at the scene were wearing body cameras, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s review notes. However, none of those captured the gunshot fired by Williams at the Sergeant, nor Williams’ movement inside the apartment that led officers to fire at him.
Two handguns were recovered from inside the apartment – one Browning Arms .22 caliber long rifle pistol was found in a front room, while a Llama .45 pistol was found on the floor near Williams’ body. That gun contained one cartridge in the chamber and three in the magazine. Police recovered 24 .45 cartridges from the ground around Williams’ body.
Both guns were found to be stolen from a burglary reported at a nearby marina. Williams was believed to be the suspect in that burglary.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney says he believes the use of deadly force by the two officers was “a justifiable self-defense reaction to and a direct result of the imminent danger presented to them and other police officers and any citizens in the immediate area by Williams.”
No charges will be sought.