Upstate New York police officer shot to death while pursuing suspect

By Timothy Branfalt

By Timothy Branfalt

(Reuters) - A police officer was shot and killed in the upstate New York city of Rochester on Wednesday night while pursuing a suspect following a traffic stop, police said.

Daryl R. Pierson, 32, was shot and killed while pursuing 38-year-old Thomas Johnson III, who allegedly fired the shot that killed the officer. Pierson was the first Rochester police officer shot to death in the line of duty since 1959.

“Daryl made the ultimate sacrifice, courageously giving his life protecting the city of Rochester,” Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said at a news conference on Thursday.

Johnson was shot and wounded by other officers who were pursuing him.

He had been released three weeks ago from Wyoming Correctional Facility in Wyoming County, New York, where he was held for apparent parole violations. He was originally incarcerated for three years for a robbery conviction.

Johnson was convicted in 2003 on weapons charges in Broward Country, Florida, according to Florida Department of Corrections documents.

Pierson, hired by the department in 2006, was a member of the force’s tactical unit. He had received 11 chief’s letters of recognition and awarded the department’s good conduct award in 2013. He was also a member of the U.S. National Guard. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Ciminelli offered few details about the investigation.

After Pierson was shot, he was taken by squad car to Rochester General Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery before he died, Ciminelli said.

During the pursuit Johnson was shot by another officer and a bystander was hit by a stray bullet.

Johnson is listed in guarded condition following surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital.

The bystander’s wound was not life-threatening and that person, who was not immediately identified, is expected to make a full recovery, according to police.

(Reporting by Timothy Branfalt in Albany, N.Y.; Editing by Frank McGurty and Mohammad Zargham)