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The original item was published from 2/7/2019 4:27:42 PM to 5/1/2019 12:05:01 AM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: February 7, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Sheriff’s Office Investigates Flagstaff Police Officer Involved Shooting

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.  

The 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. 

The 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 suspect twice. 

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 the ground.

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.  

Detectives have 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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