Family of man fatally shot by police in Orange says police have been 'professional and compassionate'

Wallkill police say an officer fired at 31-year-old Christopher VanKleeck after a confrontation at an intersection in Middletown.

News 12 Staff

Jun 17, 2021, 12:35 AM

Updated 1,074 days ago

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The family of a man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Orange County Saturday say police have been "professional and compassionate."
Wallkill police say an officer fired at 31-year-old Christopher VanKleeck after a confrontation at an intersection in Middletown.
Police haven't released the name of the officer - all is known is that he's a five-year veteran who is now on non-disciplinary leave.
Wallkill police currently do not have body cameras, so there is no video evidence of what happened.
In a statement, VanKleeck's family said, "Christopher VanKleeck, after a long struggle with mental illness, was shot in what appears to be a justifiable shooting by the Town of Wallkill Police Department."
They are asking the public not to jump to judgment before the investigation is complete.
There are still many unanswered questions, including whether VanKleeck had a weapon, how many officers responded to the scene and were any de-escalation tactics attempted before weapons were drawn.
When News 12 asked police these questions, they said that only the Attorney General's Office could answer.
As part of a new protocol that started in April, all officer-involved shootings in New York are handed by the AG's office for investigation.
It's part of the AG's effort to personally oversee police use of force.


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