Update on fatal police shooting in Brooklyn
Police today said that a 52-year-old musician was sitting on his bed in his room when he was fatally shot Sunday night by a city patrol officer after refusing to drop a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun.
The agency identified the officer as Joseph Schanamann, a four year veteran who has been involved in one prior shooting - in 2009, when he shot a police dog that attacked him, according to reports at the time. Schanamann is on routine administrative suspension as detectives investigate the shooting.
There's been an outpouring of grief among friends of victim Steve Mach, stretching from Baltimore to New York City, where he worked for years as a lighting tech at the famed CBGB's rock club. Before that, he played in a few glam rock bands, including a local group called The Vamps.
"It's a shock to us all," said Jackie Luther, who worked with Mach at CBGB. "He was a very gentle person. I can't see this happening - it's very out of character."
Luther said Mach had moved back to Baltimore a few years ago after the death of his mother. He was an animal activist who worked with BARCS, the South Baltimore animal rescue shelter, and owned several cats, she said. He did not have a criminal record here.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said officers were called to Mach's home in the 3600 block of St. Victor St. after his roommate called police to report that Mach was armed and said he was fearful for his own safety. Officers entered the home and went upstairs, where they found Mach sitting on his bed. The officers demanded that he drop a weapon he was holding - police describe it as a pellet gun that resembled a .45 caliber handgun - and fired at least one shot when he refused to comply.
"You have to follow police commands, especially when you're holding a weapon in your hands," Guglielmi said.
Friends have scheduled a candlelight vigil for Mach tonight (Wednesday) in front of his home.