MPD Officers Say They Fired When Man Pointed Gun At Them
(Memphis) Memphis Police have identified two officers who shot and killed a man inside his car.
We now know officers Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess are on paid leave for Thursday night’s shooting.
Police said the officers went to check out a loud noise call at the Windsor Place Apartments. They didn’t find the loud noise, but saw 24-year-old Steven Askew slumped over in his car.
Police Director Toney Armstrong said they went to check on him and saw a gun inside the car, so they knocked on his window and started giving verbal commands.
“As several verbal commands were given by the officers, the suspect armed himself with a handgun and pointed it at one of the officers,” Armstrong said.
Witnesses then describe one officer shooting from the back of Askew’s car, while the other shot from the side.
While the Askew family is asking for an independent investigation, the Memphis Police Department is currently still the only investigating agency in this case.
The Askews’ attorney, Howard Manis, said they have contacted the U.S. attorney’s office, TBI and FBI to request an outside investigation.
But a spokesperson with MPD said their homicide bureau is looking into this, since this happened in the course of regular on-duty activities.
For off-duty incidents however, like the case of Officer Terrence Shaw shooting a teenager to death, outside agencies like TBI are called in.
The Askew family is also presenting a witness video which begins after the initial onslaught of gunshots. They have shared it with police, but neither party is willing to share the video with media, because it is considered evidence.
The Askew family attorney describes the video as being shot from a higher angle and from a distance. He said after the first shots, there was a 17-second pause, followed by three more shots. They claim the video shows excessive force.
Manis said he had several people in criminal justice view the video, and they felt those were gunshots.
But Director Armstrong in a press conference, said he did not believe that to be true.
“With 24 years of experience, with the number of gunshots I’ve heard, it certainly did not sound like a gunshot to me. As well as the officers’ reaction on the scene, as well as the witnesses on the scene, it just did not appear to be gunshots,” Armstrong said.
Neighbors in the Windsor Place Apartments did not remember clearly.
Dominique Wells said she and the children in her house had to take cover when she first heard the shots.
Then, “We heard clips loading back up. Clack, clack, like they were going for a second round,” Wells said.
But when asked whether police actually fired a second round, Wells said, “I’m not sure.”
Both police and the Askew family are now looking for more evidence. Director Armstrong asks anyone with information or evidence to contact the MPD homicide bureau.
In the meantime, notes were left on the doors of neighbors at the apartment complex where the shooting happened: “I am working for Askew family for the defense. Private Investigator, please call.”