Father fatally shot by police as he fired gun in the air to ring in new year

James Williams (left) was shot and killed by a police officer after firing a gun in the air to mark the new year, his wife Marquetta Williams (right) said (Pictures: Cleveland 19/AP)

A man who fired a gun into the air to ring in 2022 was shot and killed by police without warning, according to his wife.

James Williams, 46, fired his wife Marquetta Williams’ AR-15 rifle to mark the new year early Saturday outside their home in Canton, Ohio, she told The Repository.

Firing guns is a tradition every year in the residential area with older homes and many neighbors participate, Marquetta said.

James had gone inside their home but went outside to fire more shots. He shot four of them into the night and then followed her back inside, but then said, ‘I’ve been shot’, Marquetta said.

No police officers identified themselves before shooting James around 12.05am, Marquetta said.

‘Out of the blue, he said he got shot, he got hit,’ Marquetta said. ‘I don’t know where it came from. Nobody said anything. They didn’t say, “Police.” They didn’t say, “Freeze.” They didn’t say, “Drop your weapon.” They just shot him.’

James was transported to Aultman Hospital, a few blocks from the Williams’ home. He was pronounced dead at 12.27am on Sunday, according to Harry Campbell, a chief investigator with the Stark County Coroner’s Office.

The Williams’ nine-year-old daughter Ja’Lia Williams pointed out blood marks on the living room floor where her father fell after being shot, according to The Repository.

Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo on Saturday said cops were investigating reports of gunfire when an officer who was outside of his vehicle confronted a person shooting a firearm. The officer feared for his safety and shot and struck the individual, Angelo stated.

The cop, whose name has not been released, has been placed on administrative duty as is the procedure with all officer-involved shootings.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also looking at evidence including body camera images and the firearms used.

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