New York State In-depth

18-year-old charged with ‘attempted murder’ of three Syracuse police officers

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) — An 18-year-old Salina man has been arrested and charged with the attempted murder of three Syracuse police officers.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Syracuse Police Commissioner Cecile, Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick gave an update on the case and said officers were “okay.”

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A court document obtained by NewsChannel 9 details the charges against 18-year-old Tajh Smith, who is accused of firing two shots at three officers who got out of their police vehicles.

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon near Skiddy Park at the intersection of Fabius Street and Oswego Street on the city’s West Side.

The document explains that Tajh “deliberately attempted to cause the deaths of three police officers who were engaged in the performance of their official duties at the time of the attempt.”

Two detectives and one officer were assigned to the department’s “Warrant Squad” and wore bulletproof vests emblazoned with the word “POLICE,” the criminal complaint said.

The investigating sergeant claimed a shot hit the vehicle’s passenger mirror, “just missed” an officer’s head and “nearly killed him.”

The shooter was arrested after he ran away. The gun had a single bullet in the chamber, which police found.

At the press conference, Chief Cecile said the Syracuse Police Department has increased its gun violence initiatives and covered gun violence hot spots in the city.

“Obviously this is very frustrating, it is dangerous for the officers and they are doing everything they can. Last year we took 266 guns off the streets, a 24 percent increase over the previous year. We are doing what we can and we will continue to do so,” Chief Cecile said.

Regarding the three police officers involved in the attempted murder, Cecile said they were fine.

“They are fine, we spoke to them and gave them some time to relax. They are holding up well.”

Mayor Walsh added that he was glad officers were okay and that the suspect had been arrested.

“I make every effort to get in touch with the officers and get to know them as people. The past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions but the only thing that makes me feel better is that the officers are fine and that this person has been arrested.”

Mayor Walsh reminds the community that good things happen when Syracuse residents support the police force.

“I hope that the community sees that good things are happening when they are proactive and support our officers and we take those people out of our neighborhoods. Our officers can’t do it alone, but they’re doing a lot,” Mayor Walsh said. “We hope these examples show that with a little support, waving someone in the right direction, making an anonymous call can make all the difference in the world.”

Chief Cecile also mentioned that it was thanks to the community and their help that they were able to apprehend the suspect so quickly and he thanked the community for that.

This is an evolving story. NewsChannel 9 and LocalSYR.com will continue to report updates.

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