Rochester, N.Y. - One thing is not in dispute.
A security guard at the Gibbs Place Apartments shot his weapon twice Friday night, severely wounding a 32-year-old man.
But new questions are being raised over whether it was self-defense and whether it could have been avoidable altogether if Rochester Police had arrested the man after an earlier incident that night.
“If they had done their job properly, then this entire shooting indicent would not have happened,” says Marty Rennert who manages the apartment building.
Witnesses say Paul Ravenel charged the security guard with a knife earlier that night. After he was disarmed he vowed to come back again with a gun.
Police were called, but an arrest never happened. Reasons why are unclear. What is clear is that Ravenel made good on his threat to return to the apartments on Chestnut Street in Rochester.
“He was doing his job for everyone who lived here,” says resident Robert Rodgers, about the security guard. Rodgers says he was being harassed by Ravenel, a man he’s seen before.
“The guy was obviously intoxicated, he had a knife in his hand,” says Rodgers.
Felix Cruz-Romero works for Black Hawk Security. He was inside 35 Chestnut Street and startled by the commotion outside. “He was banging the door and as he walked he opened the door half way and said you can’t be here,” says manager Rennert.
He then describes what happened next as Cruz-Romero walked outside. “The man was very aggressive with him, yelling at him. He was just three feet away.”
The security guard disarmed the man. Witnesses say Ravenel ran into the street. Rochester Police responded, confiscated the knife – but Ravenel was never arrested.
“The two police officers did not do their job and it resulted in this kind of force having to be used,” says Rennert.
Rodgers says Ravenel returned to the scene carrying a black bag and reaching inside it. He described how the man ignored the security guard’s directive to step back.
Ravenel was shot twice as he raised the bag with his hand. Inside the bag was a hammer.
“I understand they’re advocating that it was self-defense,” says Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department. “At this point in time we’re going to let the courts deal with that process.”
“He was screaming out there that he had a pistol- well if he says he has a pistol and he has a bag and it’s raised – what’s left to be thought?” asks Rennert who describes the security guard as a soft-spoken family man.
A private security firm was hired at Gibbs Place after a brutal attack last November.
Paul Ravenel is well known to police. He is in guarded condition. As for why he was not taken into custody Friday night after the earlier incident- Chief Sheppard says that Ravenel had left the scene.
Witnesses dispute that.
Cruz-Romero has been charged with assault. A grand jury will determine whether the case will move forward or whether this is a case of self-defense.