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Crime and Courts


Shooting by University of Akron officer ruled justified
Summit County prosecutor indicates shooting at traffic stop was "suicide by cop." 

by WKSU's MARK URYCKI


Senior Reporter
Mark Urycki
 
On May 16th Akron police tow the car of James Genda from the scene near the Akron post office where he was shot to death.
Courtesy of Kabir Bhatia
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A University of Akron police officer is back at work after authorities have ruled that his shooting of an Akron man was justified. In May, officer Aaron Burnette killed 64-year-old James Genda at a traffic stop near the university campus. Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says it appears to be a case of “suicide by cop.”

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James Genda had done jail time in the 1980’s and 90’s for theft-related charges.  And he served about a week in jail in Akron in March for not paying traffic fines. When he was pulled over for a traffic violation in May, he called his sister and told her he wasn’t going to go back to jail again. At the stop he pulled out a black pellet gun, and Burnette shot him multiple times. 

Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says her office examined interviews, video and audio of the incident and it indicated the shooting was in self-defense.  She said Genda’s aunt called police after the event and told them he had talked of suicide.

“Only a month or so prior to this shooting, Genda had indicated he was never going to go back to jail and if the police ever pulled him over he was going to pull out his BB gun that looked real, and force the police to shoot him.”

Walsh says police-cruiser video showed Genda had pointed the pistol at officer Burnette.

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