JC Police reveal details in fatal police shooting

By Conor Mooney
By Greg Catlin
By Kelly McCarthy

March 31, 2014 Updated Mar 31, 2014 at 7:14 PM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A Johnson City police officer was shot and killed early Monday morning while responding to a call. After interviewing witnesses to the shooting all morning, Johnson City Police have as complete of a timeline as they think they will ever get.

At 7:03 a.m. Officer Dave Smith responded to a disturbance call at Southern Tier Imaging at 32 Harrison Street. Just three minutes later, at 7:06 am there was another call reporting shots had been fired.

During those three minutes a Southern Tier Imaging employee, James Clark, 43, of Greene, ran out of the building and attacked the first responding officer while he was still inside his patrol car.

"The suspect ran down the stairs from Southern Tier imaging, had his arms up almost like he was surrendering from the way I take it," Johnson City Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said, "Yelling something that was incoherent, and he attacked Officer Smith, before he even had an opportunity to exit his patrol car."

There was a struggle between Clark and Officer Smith, and Clark grabbed Smith's gun and shot him two times. Officer Smith fought for his life for more than an hour but died from those two gunshots.

"You know Officer Smith never stood a chance," Chief Zikuski said, "I would go as far as to say he might not even known the guy was running up, you know the guy came up from behind him, he was opening his car door, the guy attacked him."

A second officer arrived on scene just minutes after Officer Smith.

Clark saw the second officer and started shooting. He fired the remaining bullets in Officer Smith's gun, police believe that was another 13 shots fired.

The officer then returned fire and shot James Clark.

Clark was taken to Wilson Hospital and died in the operating room at 10:22 a.m.

Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said detectives interviewed more than 30 witnesses and still can't say why Clark attacked Officer Smith.

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