Investigation continues in NYPD shooting of man in Crown Heights

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BROOKLYN — Unrest in Crown Heights as the investigation continues into the death of a black man shot by police earlier this week.

Police shot and killed 35-year-old Saheed Vassell on Wednesday after he pointed what officers believed was a gun at them.

The NYPD released more surveillance video of a Vassell, pointing a silver object at people as if he were brandishing a gun.

Afterward, it was discovered the object was actually a pipe with a knob on it.

Police say they thought it was a gun when they got to the scene and opened fire, killing Vassell, a block away from his home.

Witnesses said they gave him no warning, and Vassell's father said his son had no access to guns and suffered from bipolar disorder.

One tough question in this case — does it fit the narrative of other controversial fatal police shootings of black men?

Experts say officers are not required to announce themselves, or order a suspect to drop a weapon, before opening fire.

“The patrol guide of the NYPD will ask officers to identify themselves, and ask the suspect to drop the gun, but like everything else, with the use of force, it is discretion of the officers, or the officers, on the scene,” said Maki Haberfeld, Director of Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

New York’s attorney general has opened an investigation into the death.

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