Saranac Lake officer justified in shooting knife-wielding suspect, attorney general says

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 12:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT
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SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (WCAX) - New York’s attorney general has concluded that a deadly police-involved shooting in New York’s North Country was justified, and the officer involved will not face charges.

In June of last year, Saranac Lake police responded to the Stewart’s Shop on Bloomingdale Avenue for a reported stabbing.

Police say Ofc. Gabrielle Beebe approached the alleged suspect, Joshua Kavota, and when he appeared to lunge at Beebe with a 4.5-inch knife, Ofc. Aaron Sharlow shot Kavota. Officers performed CPR but Kavota died at a nearby hospital.

Now, the New York Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigation has determined the use of force was justified and the officer will not be prosecuted. The AG’s report said investigators reviewed body camera footage, 911 calls, witness interviews and evidence from the scene, and concluded the shooting was justified.

In a statement, Paul DerOhannesian, the attorney for the officers involved, said in part: “Unfortunately, the incident that occurred on June 29, 2022, is an example of the necessary split-second decisions that law enforcement officers are forced to make every day to protect our communities... The officers involved and all of [the Saranac Lake Police Department] continue to offer their thoughts and condolences to all impacted.”

The Adirondack Diversity Initiative told us at the time that Kavota had been behaving erratically, and the person stabbed by Kavota was a mental health advocate. They told us they believed the officer’s life was in danger and called it a “true tragedy” for the community.

Police say the male stabbing victim in that incident was treated at the hospital and released.

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