While the Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding teen are still officially under investigation, the department’s chief is firmly standing behind their actions.
Detective John White and Sgt. Jason Poston were in front of Bader’s Food Mart in downtown Louisville late Wednesday night when 18-year-old Tyler Dattilo verbally accosted them. Moments later, the teen pulled a knife and the officers opened fire. Both officers have been suspended, but Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad said they didn’t have “any other option.”
“In this situation, I do not believe these officers had any other option than to use deadly force,” said Conrad.
Surveillance footage shows Datillo lunge towards the officers. White and Poston backpedaled and drew their weapons. They fired an undisclosed number of rounds and Datillo was fatally struck.
“The officers drew their weapons, backed away quickly and gave commands for the man to stop,” said Conrad.
The officer-invovled shooting has left locals divided. Some feel the officers were justified, while others believe they should have first used less-than-lethal force.
“They didn’t have to kill the guy,” said James Oliver of Louisville. “There was no reason for that. They could, they could’ve used Tasers, whatever.”
The 21-foot rule says that a person can close the distance of 21 feet before the target can recognize the threat, draw their weapon, and score a hit.
Datillo was armed with a knife and was quickly closing the gap of just a few feet. If the officers had attempted to reholster their sidearms and draw their Tasers, it’s statistically probable that Datillo would have come out on top.
“It’s sad, it really is sad that, you know, young people would take a knife and threaten somebody,” said Christopher Huber, a frequenter of Bader’s Food Mart. “I don’t know why they would necessarily do that.”
Chief Conrad said the investigation into the shooting is still underway.
‘We absolutely do not want to take a person’s life,” said Conrad. “It is a tough thing that officers sometimes have to do, but it is not something that we take lightly.”
(This article was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers)