New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) today released its report on the death of Steven Leconte of Brooklyn. After conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation, OSI concluded that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers involved were justified under New York law when they fired at Mr. Leconte, who, armed with a handgun, had just shot three individuals and was pointing that gun at the officers. OSI’s review of the incident included footage from police body-worn cameras, street surveillance videos, interviews with witnesses, and other forms of evidence.
On the evening of July 8, 2021, Mr. Leconte approached a group of men gathered outside a store in Bushwick, Brooklyn and fired his gun, wounding three of them. A fourth person near the store fired a gun at Mr. Leconte, wounding him in the leg. NYPD officers patrolling nearby heard the shooting and arrived at the store within a minute or two, in which bystanders told them where the shooter had fled. The officers found Mr. Leconte nearby, crouched beside a parked car, with the gun still in his hand. The officers ordered Mr. Leconte to drop his gun. Instead, he pointed the gun at the officers, and the officers fired. The officers performed CPR until EMT arrived and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Under New York’s justification law, a police officer attempting to make an arrest may use deadly physical force to defend himself, herself, or others from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. In this case, Mr. Leconte, who had just shot three men, ignored directions to drop his weapon and instead pointed his gun at an officer. After careful review of the facts and the law, OSI determined that the officers involved were justified in their actions because they were necessary to protect themselves, their colleagues, and the public. Nonetheless, Mr. Leconte’s death was a tragedy, and Attorney General James extends her condolences to his family.