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On February 3, 2019 at approximately 9:27 a.m.,
two Flagstaff Police Officers were leaving The Guidance Center in Flagstaff at
2187 N. Vickey Street on an unrelated call when an individual, identified as
Henry Harold Russell, 47 years old, from Boise, Idaho, confronted the officers
brandishing two knives. The confrontation escalated when Russell approached an
officer having the knives raised toward the officer in a threatening manner. As the officer backed away from Russell, he gave Russell commands to drop the knives. Russell
charged the officer with a knife in each hand, prompting the officer to
discharge his weapon striking Russell. Officers on scene provided lifesaving
measures until paramedics arrived. Russell was transported to the Flagstaff
Medical Center and was later pronounced deceased.
officers involved in the incident were not injured in the altercation. The Flagstaff Police Department Officer who
discharged his weapon is identified as Officer Tyler Romney, a 3 ½ year veteran
of the department. Officer Romney is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the
investigation, per department policy and procedure.
Northern Arizona Officer Involved Shooting Team responded to the scene and
immediately began the investigation, with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office
as the lead agency. Initial
Investigation indicates three shots were fired by Officer Romney, striking the
An autopsy was
conducted on February 4th and the medical examiner’s report is
pending toxicology. The examination at
the time of autopsy found that Russell was struck twice by gunfire, one wound in
the right leg and one wound in the back.
A review of the
officer’s body worn camera shows Russell was armed and aggressively charging
towards Officer Romney. Romney fired, and all three shots were fired within one
second. The video footage shows Russell reacted
by immediately turning to his right. A
shot hit Russell in the leg and another struck Russell in the back as he
continued to fall to the ground. Romney ceased firing as Russell was falling to
CCSO Detectives are
investigating Russell’s background. Russell was convicted in Idaho in 2005 for
Sexual Abuse of a Child under 16 years old and has served time in prison
multiple times. That conviction required Russell to register as a Sex Offender.
Russell had not registered with local law enforcement as required by law. Russell
had recently been released from the Idaho Department of Corrections on December
3rd, 2018. Russell had not
requested permission to leave the state according to Idaho Department of
Corrections Parole, which is a violation of his parole conditions.
confirmed that Russell was not a patient of the Guidance Center and it is
unknown why he was at that location on February 3. Investigators found Russell had stayed at
Flagstaff Shelter Services on January 28th. It is still unknown exactly how long he had
been in the Flagstaff area. Russell did
not have any known family in Flagstaff or connections to the Flagstaff area.
Russell had no
contacts with local law enforcement in and around the Flagstaff area prior to
the shooting. Additional information indicated
that Russell had been admitted to the Flagstaff Medical Center as suicidal and
an overdose in mid-January.
The investigation is on-going and more
information will be made available as the investigation continues.
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