‘Don’t raise it!’ Ontario County Sheriff, Canandaigua Police release video of fatal shooting

[anvplayer video=”5170581″ station=”998131″]

ONTARIO, N.Y. The Ontario County Sheriff and Canandaigua Police released video of the fatal police shooting of a man in Canandaigua.

It started with reports of a man shooting his gun from his car in Bloomfield and then a police chase into the city of Canandaigua. Deputies and police officers were after Brandon Zurkan because they say he was shooting a gun out of his car. The chase ended when Zurkan crashed his car off Main Street in Canandaigua.

“Hands! Let me see your hands!” yelled one officer as Zurkan moved away from his car.

Zurkan was from western Pennsylvania and worked at the Lowes in his hometown. The sheriff said Zurkan had applied for jobs between Buffalo and Syracuse but did not get hired. He had no family in the Finger Lakes region.

The Ontario County sheriff released an image showing Zurkan leaving his car with a gun in his hand.

“Canandaigua units – he is armed,” an officer said.

Over the next 10 minutes, the video shows the officer giving at least 35 commands to drop the gun and at times, he appeared to try to reassure Zurkan.

“We don’t want to hurt you,” he said. “Whatever is going on with you man, we can work this out. We can get you help.”

But three minutes later, Zurkan started walking toward police and raised his gun.

“We’re here to help you,” the officer said. “Put it down. We’re here to help. Put it down. Just get down on the ground. Get down on the ground, let’s go. Don’t raise it! Do not raise!”

At that moment, law enforcement shot Zurkan. The video shows officers and deputies converged on Zurkan, handcuffed him and then tried to help him. An ambulance appears in the video two and a half minutes later.

The sheriff says they found a loaded shotgun in Zurkan’s car. They found spent shells that match Zurkan’s handgun on the path of the police chase two blocks away in Canandaigua. They also found seven different prescription drugs in Zurkan’s car. The sheriff says the guns were legally owned in Pennsylvania.

The state attorney general’s investigation is going on.

Body Camera Footage

The video released on Friday is unedited up until the seconds after the law enforcement shot Zurkan. The response from Emergency Medical Services is redacted. WARNING, THE VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING CONTENT:

New information

Zurkan was hundreds of miles away from his home of Warren, Pennsylvania when he was killed. The Sheriff’s Office says they’re still unsure what brought Zurkan to Ontario County. However, they did learn that he applied for jobs in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Southern Tier areas a week before he was killed.

A report from the Sheriff’s Office says Zurkan legally purchased the .45 caliber handgun he held during the standoff and the shotgun that was found in his car. They were both bought in Pennsylvania.

Pills prescribed to Zurkan and ammunition were also found in Zurkan’s car. Items in the car included:

  • A Remington .20 gauge shotgun loaded with five bullets
  • A .45 caliber magazine with four bullets and extra shotgun rounds
  • Prescription drugs Suboxone, Amphetamine Salts, Venlafaxine, Ziprasidone, Enalapril, Clonazepam, and Sucralfate

Zukran’s criminal history included a controlled substance conviction in Warren. At least two 911 callers reported hearing gunshots when Zurkan traveled past them in his car.

The Sheriff’s Office said they’ve closed their portion of the investigation after interviewing witnesses, looking at Zurkan’s cell phone records, and searching his car. The New York State Attorney General is still investigating, as required with any police-involved shooting, and will release its findings once the investigation is complete.

More about the officer-involved shooting

Two deputies and two Canandaigua Police Officers shot Zurkan on Tuesday, Feb. 28 around 11:30 p.m.

Law enforcement reported that they shot Zurkan after he raised his arm to fire at them. After performing first aid, Zurkan was taken to FF Thompson Hospital where he died a short time later.

Before leading Ontario County Sheriff’s Deputies on a chase, a concerned citizen called 911 to report the sounds of gunfire coming from a car being driven erratically. The deputy tried to stop the driver, Zurkan, on Route 5 near the West Avenue extension.

”The deputy observed the sedan cross over the centerline two times, and activated his emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the vehicle,” said Sheriff David Cirencione, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Once in Canandaigua, officers say Zurkan fired multiple gunshots from his car on South Pearl Street. The chase eventually came up Parrish Street. Surveillance video from the Sunoco Gas Station shows Zurkan allegedly speeding through the intersection of Parrish and East Main Street. Officers say he struck a curb at the City Mini Storage Company disabling his car. The sheriff says Zurkan got out of his car with a gun and started walking toward the officers. For more than eight minutes they tried to de-escalate the situation.

”The officers were verbally engaging him, trying to bring this situation down, and then tried to engage in that conversation where they were able to offer him assistance,” Chief Matthew Nielsen, Canandaigua Police Department.

More about Zurkan

Last June, Zurkan was profiled by Lowes, where he worked, as part of a grandfather and grandson employee team. His grandfather said, “He’s already gotten two promotions since he’s been here!”

Zurkan’s family set up a GoFundMe page trying to raise money for his funeral. It calls the news about his death devastating with unimaginable and unexpected pain.

The family friend who set up the account writes “Gone far too soon and without warning, it is an incomprehensible thing to understand and accept. Our hearts are absolutely breaking for this family.”