Police in Ohio released body camera footage Thursday showing an officer firing multiple rounds through a wooden privacy fence without warning at someone shooting gunfire into the air on the other side.
James Williams, 46, of Canton, was shot in the chest minutes into the new year and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The video was released by the Canton Police Department.
The video shows the officer approach the tall privacy fence in a residential area as the sound of multiple gunshots ring out. Smoke from what appears to be a gun can be seen spurting into the air above the fence.
The officer then fires multiple shots through the fence. After firing, he yells, “Police, get down now! Police, Get down now!”
Marquetta Williams, James’ wife, told The Canton Repository her husband had been using her AR-15 rifle to fire celebratory rounds that she said were a New Year’s tradition in their neighborhood.
After the shooting, the video shows another officer taking cover behind a cruiser and yelling, “Show me your (expletive) hands” after Marquetta Williams steps onto the front porch of the home.
The officer who fired then shouts, “Everyone on the ground. Out here, on the sidewalk, on the ground.”
Marquetta Williams and others, including several children, can been seen gathering on the home’s front porch steps with their hands raised as the officer steps inside the home and finds James Williams lying on the living room floor, shot in the chest.
The video confirms what Marquetta Williams told The Canton Repository. Her husband was shot without warning.
Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo said Saturday the officer was outside his cruiser and confronted someone firing a weapon. He said the officer feared for his life.
Police spokesperson Lt. Dennis Garren said Thursday the department had no additional comments and that the shooting is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave.
Williams was the father of four daughters and a step-father to two more children.