New video, more eyewitnesses recall what led up to officer-involved shooting in Portsmouth

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Posted at 2:35 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 16:20:40-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - News 3 has obtained new video and is hearing from more eyewitnesses who saw what led up to Sunday morning's officer-involved shooting in Portsmouth where a man was injured.

Portsmouth Police say around 11:28 a.m., they responded to a call for service near the 2300 block of Greenwood Drive.

Police say a man, identified as Andre L. Rawls brandished a sharp object at a Portsmouth officer on the scene. The officer fired at Rawls, leaving him with a serious injury. Rawls was then taken to the hospital for treatment.

This comes as Virginia State Police will join Portsmouth Police on patrols and add more investigative resources to help curb crime in the city starting this week.

New video obtained Monday by News 3 from another eyewitness shows Rawls going up to the front door of a neighbor's home and then taking stuff off of the porch. The video also shows him eventually walking down the street with what witnesses say was a barbecue fork.

New Video of PT OIS shooting before police arrive.mp4

Monday, the neighbor talked with News 3 about what happened. He did not want to show himself on camera for safety reasons.

“This is the last place I’d thought something like that would’ve happened,” the neighbor said.

It all started just after 11 a.m. Sunday. Walker was asleep in his house when neighbors, including a woman named Tanya, who lives a few doors down, saw a man lying on Walker’s front lawn and called 911.

“I don’t know if he’s dead; I don’t know if he’s hurt or whatever, but can you please send fire and rescue and a police officer?" Tanya told 911 dispatchers.

“The neighbors came over to check on that individual, and figured out that’s not Chris,” he added.

The neighbor told News 3 he then woke up to a loud thud.

“Me and my dog, we ran downstairs, tried to talk with him on my front porch, and he was just really belligerent [and] incoherent,” he said. “All of it was just gibberish. It was really just you can tell he was some type of mental distress.”

He said Rawls eventually picked up his barbecue grill and grilling fork on his porch.

“He walked back and forth. He kind of charged at me three different times as I was trying to talk with him and encourage him to put the fork down,” the neighbor said. “Once officers showed up, and just the size of that fork, I didn’t want to see what was about to transpire, in all honesty.”

He said he then went back into the house.

Meanwhile, Tanya captured Rawls on video around the man's house and holding the grilling fork.

She said she watched everything unfold as Rawls and the officer eventually made their way in front of her home.

“He told the fire department to leave him alone or he would kill the fire department,” Tanya told News 3. “I heard him say that. He said it several times to the police officer, too - that he would kill the police officer.”

Tanya then said the police officer asked Rawls several times to drop the fork and to get on the ground, but Rawls did not.

“I saw him [the officer] with my own eyes, three times, use that taser on him,” Tanya said. “The police officer asked him another time to drop the weapon and get on the ground.”

It was after this, Tanya said, shots were fired.

This is all leaving Tanya concerned in her neighborhood.

“I feel uncomfortable now, here, seeing that,” she said.

Both she and the neighbor are thinking about the officer and man involved.

“I can see that that officer, he was in distress afterwards,” he said. “I don’t think any officer wakes up and says, ‘I want to go out and shoot somebody today,’ especially on Father’s Day.”

“If I could, I’m going to try and find out as much information as I can about that young man, just try to see if I can write him, go visit him, just make sure that he’s OK [and] that he’s got some type of support system,” he added about the man who was shot.

Rawls has been charged with attempted malicious injury of a police officer and attempted breaking and entering. He is currently being held in the Portsmouth City Jail.

News 3 is working to get lots of questions answered by police as VSP investigates this incident.

Monday, a VSP spokesperson told News 3 that once the investigation is complete, a report will be provided to the Commonwealth’s Attorney to review and make the final decision.

News 3 also reached out to Portsmouth Police with questions to further clarify exactly what transpired Sunday morning, and as of Monday afternoon, we are waiting to hear back.