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Westchester District Attorney: Grand Jury Declines To Indict Officer In Fatal Shooting Of Kamal Flowers

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A grand jury has declined to indict a New Rochelle police officer in the shooting death of Kamal Flowers, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. announced Wednesday.

Flowers, who was armed, was fleeing a traffic stop in New Rochelle on June 5 when he was fatally shot by Officer Alec McKenna.

The district attorney says the grand jury considered and rejected a possible charge of intentional murder.

FLASHBACK: New Rochelle Officials Discuss Police-Involved Shooting

The 24-year-old was on parole for armed carjacking and fled on foot after he was pulled over. McKenna pursued, telling the grand jury Flowers pointed a gun at him from close range, CBS2's Tony Aiello reports.

New Rochelle Pistol Recovered
New Rochelle police say this is the pistol they recovered after the police-involved shooting of Kamal Flowers. (credit: New Rochelle Police)

"The DNA found on the trigger of the 9 millimeter Ruger handgun matched Mr. Flower's DNA," Scarpino said.

Investigators determined McKenna fired his taser before escalating to deadly force.

MORE: 1 Dead In Police-Involved Shooting In New Rochelle

According to Scarpino, McKenna testified before the grand jury, waiving immunity. The grand jury heard from 35 people, including a dozen members of the New Rochelle Police Department, 11 civilians and four witnesses from other public agencies. The grand jury also examined the pistol found at the scene, and reviewed more than 200 exhibits, including 25 surveillance videos and four police radio calls.

It was New Rochelle's first officer-involved shooting in seven years.

MORE: Exclusive: Driver In Fatal New Rochelle Police Shooting Speaks Out

"The death of Kamal Flowers was tragic. His family and friends have lost a loved one and are devastated by this loss. I am deeply saddened by his death because his life mattered. Any use of deadly force is difficult to accept. I want the Flowers family and the people of New Rochelle to know, this investigation took top priority for this office, and, even as we have been challenged by the coronavirus -- we did everything to ensure the investigation's veracity," Scarpino said.

Flowers' family doesn't accept the outcome.

"Why did that traffic infraction have to end my brother's life? Why did you have to take my brother, Kamilla and Kayveon's father, Starr's brother? Why?" said Adele Wauchope, Flowers' sister.

At City Hall, officials hope for healing and announced an internal investigation.

"Which will review if our policies, procedures, rules and regulations were followed," New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome said.

McKenna remains on a paid leave of absence.

In the next few weeks, the Flowers family will announce a civil suit against New Rochelle and, for the first time, the city manager will propose a budget that includes funding for police body-worn cameras.

Despite pleas from the family and a formal request from the City council, Attorney General Letitia James did not investigate the death. The Executive Order giving her office jurisdiction only applies in cases where the police shoot an unarmed victim, or there is a significant dispute over whether a victim was armed.
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