A New York state trooper fatally shot a driver Saturday during a traffic stop, and authorities said they were looking into what might have precipitated the deadly interaction.
The driver was shot as he put the vehicle in reverse and tried to flee, briefly dragging a trooper who was reaching into the vehicle as the car began moving, New York State Police Maj. Carla DiRienzo said during a news conference.
The car backed into a highway ramp before overturning, she said.
The driver, who was in a vehicle with out-of-state license plates, died at the scene, she said.
Neither the driver nor the trooper involved — a 14-year veteran of the state police — were immediately identified publicly.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she directed the state police to “fully cooperate” with the state Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating the incident.
“As we await a transparent and thorough review of the facts, our thoughts are with the victim’s family and our Troopers,” the governor said in a statement released Saturday evening.
Authorities said the vehicle was first spotted driving “erratically” on a highway Saturday morning. Troopers attempted to stop the vehicle, which authorities said was traveling at speeds up to 100 mph (161 kph), but ended their pursuit when the vehicle exited Interstate 90 in Buffalo. The vehicle struck a squad car while exiting.
While troopers were patrolling city streets, state police said, the vehicle was spotted and pulled over.
The driver began talking with people on the street when troopers approached the vehicle.
“While interacting with the suspect, the trooper reached into the vehicle and the suspect attempted to leave the scene in reverse,” DiRienzo said.
She could not say why the trooper reached into the vehicle.
“The trooper discharged their division-issued firearm at the suspect,” she said. “The vehicle struck multiple objects and ultimately overturned on a ramp. The suspect died at the scene.”
DiRienzo said the trooper suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital.
She said footage from the trooper’s body camera would be released.