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Police Fatally Shoot Disturbed Man Carrying Knife

UPDATE: Following the shooting, the Chamberlain family filed a notice of claim announcing its intention to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department. Read our full coverage

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains police say an officer discharged two rounds, fatally shooting an emotionally disturbed White Plains man who attempted to bar officers from entering his apartment with a hatchet and then turned towards police with a butcher’s knife.

Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said the department received a call about a person in distress from Lifeline, an emergency medical alert system, at 5:08 a.m. Saturday. Officers heard screams and incoherent voices behind the 135 S. Lexington Ave. first floor apartment and attempted to negotiate with the occupant. The man refused to open the metal apartment door, said Chong, forcing police to work on prying it open.

“In fear of people being trapped inside the apartment or somebody inside the apartment harming themselves, the officers immediately called for backup and attempted to breach the apartment door,” said Chong.

A hatchet appeared in the crack between the door and hallway, according to Chong. An officer was able to pull the weapon out of the man’s hands. Once inside the apartment, officers say they continued to attempt to negotiate with Kenneth Chamberlain , 68, who had a butcher’s knife in his hand. He was alone in the apartment at the time of the incident.

Chong said officers then attempted to subdue Chamberlain with an electric taser and a bean bag gun, which hit him four times in the chest and legs.

As officers were backing away from Chamberlain, police said he turned towards an officer with a knife in his hand, prompting the officer to shoot two rounds from his revolver, which knocked Chamberlain to the ground.

Chamberlain collapsed on the ground and “continued to slash away at officers” who tried to give him CPR and then he attempted to cut his own throat, according to Chong.

Once the knife was taken away from Chamberlain, emergency medical responders tended to him as he was rushed to White Plains Hospital's emergency room. He died during surgery at approximately 7:09 a.m. Saturday.

The officer who shot Chamberlain, whose name was not released, is being treated at White Plains Hospital for chest pains and trauma. Chong said the officer is an eight-year veteran of the department who has never before fired his gun in the line of duty.

Four other police who were at the scene are also being treated for trauma at White Plains Hospital. Police and the Westchester County District Attorney’s office have begun an investigation about what transpired in the Winbrook Public Housing Complex apartment Saturday morning.

Chong said he believed officers followed all department rules and procedures. Chamberlain was known to the department before his fatal encounter with officers, but Chong did not describe the nature of the interactions.

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