ITHACA — A former Gouverneur man was killed in the lobby of the Ithaca Police Department headquarters early Saturday morning after wielding a knife with a nine-inch blade as he entered the lobby.
Michael DeCastro, 57, Ithaca, entered through the first set of doors at the public entrance to the headquarters, 120 East Clinton St., shortly before 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
In a press a conference Saturday afternoon, Ithaca Police Chief Dennis R. Nayor described the layout of the entrance, saying at the time of the incident, members of the public could walk through the first set of doors then be buzzed through a second set of doors by an officer.
Typically, Chief Nayor said, people who are buzzed through are seeking some type of assistance from the department.
Upon passing the second set of doors after being buzzed through by an officer, “within seconds,” Mr. DeCastro “viciously assailed the officer involved,” Chief Nayor said.
A brief attack resulted in minor injuries to the officer and the fatal shooting of Mr. DeCastro by that officer. The officer involved was taken to a local medical center and was later released.
“From all accounts, this has all the appearance of a completely random and unprovoked vicious attack on a police officer,” Chief Nayor said during the press conference. “This is a very unfortunate set of circumstances, but there’s a good part in the fact that there were not any other community members or people in that public space at that time.”
The Tompkins County District Attorney’s office, state attorney general’s office, Tompkins County Sheriff’s department and state police are assisting Ithaca police with the ongoing investigation.
Chief Nayor said there is video footage of the incident, which the department will likely release in the future.
Private funeral arrangements for Mr. DeCastro are with Green Funeral Home, Gouverneur.