On Thursday March 4, 17-year-old former J-D student Judson Albahm was shot and killed by police officers in Jamesville. According to police, Albahm had raised what looked to be a handgun, pointing it at the responding officers, and this is what prompted them to shoot him. In a story that has repeated itself many times all over the country, it turns out the “handgun” was a toy airsoft gun. Albahm was pronounced dead at the scene.
Prior to the shooting, Albahm had reportedly been talking in his family’s residence with a Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) team from St. Joseph’s Hospital after experiencing a mental breakdown. Albahm’s mother called police after he hit her car while leaving his home in another car.
Police stopped Albahm sometime between 12:30 P.M. and 1:15 P.M., and the shooting occurred sometime before 1:30. Additional police reportedly arrived on scene as the situation became increasingly tense. The CPEP team was at the family’s residence when the officers arrived at Albahm’s location, according to police spokesman Sergeant Jon Seeber. Despite being warned by the dispatcher that Albahm owned an airsoft gun, four officers fired at Albahm when he allegedly ran away from them and then pointed what appeared to be a handgun at them, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. Because some officers arrived on scene later, however, it is unclear whether all of them knew of Albahm’s airsoft gun. By the time of the shooting, dozens of officers were reportedly on scene, including personnel from the state police, county sheriff’s deputies, and DeWitt Police.
According to the police dispatcher, Albahm had a history of emotional disturbance and of being armed. On the call to officers, which can be heard on Syracuse.com, the dispatcher stated, “He has threatened suicide by cops in the past.” It remains unknown whether Albahm intentionally provoked officers to shoot him on Thursday.
On Friday, the day after the fatal shooting, J-D superintendent Peter Smith sent a statement via email and on the J-D website to parents. In the statement, Dr. Smith stated that J-D is mourning the loss of Judson Albahm, and that the counseling team is reaching out to students that may have been close with Albahm.
The names of the officers that fired at Albahm, as well as the name of Albahm were released to the public on Monday. All three police organizations involved have released statements on the situation, but none of them detail what exactly occurred between the initial confrontation of Albahm and the fatal shooting. After determining that Albahm was unarmed, the New York State Attorney general is now taking control of the investigation.
On Tuesday, Jessie Rose, a friend of Albahm’s mother, created a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral and memorial expenses as well as mental health support. The money will also go towards legal fees. The family of Judson Albahm have hired lawyer David Zukher to investigate the shooting. Any additional funds raised will be put into college savings accounts for Albahm’s siblings. The page has so far received almost $3,500 in donations out of their $5,000 goal. To donate, the GoFundMe page called #JusticeForJudson is linked here. Albahm’s memorial will be held tomorrow, March 10.