The two Oneonta police officers involved in the April 6 shooting of an Oneonta man have requested time off for an “indeterminate amount of time,” according to Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig.
"They have requested some time off, as they are understandably shaken after the experience they had," Herzig said.
New York State Police identified the officer who discharged his weapon as Patrol Sgt. Ralph Pajerski of the Oneonta Police Department. The name of the other officer, described by eyewitnesses as a blonde female who pulled her gun but did not shoot, has not been identified.
Tyler R. Green, 23, of Oneonta, died en route to Albany Medical Center hours after the shooting.
Pajerski fired two shots at Green when he and his unidentified partner responded to reports of a domestic incident Tuesday afternoon at the River Street residence Green shared with his mother and her boyfriend.
Green was reported to be threatening his girlfriend with a knife while he was holding the couple’s 2-year-old son. Witnesses said Green was shot at point-blank range while officers and his girlfriend attempted to take possession of the child and the knife.
A cellphone video of the shooting aftermath recorded by a neighbor showed Green lying facedown on the ground, handcuffed, crying out in pain and repeatedly calling for help for several minutes before receiving medical attention.
Green was transported by ambulance to A.O. Fox Hospital and airlifted to Albany Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
Investigation of the incident was turned over from Oneonta police to state police in the hours following the shooting. The Office of the New York State Attorney General announced Tuesday evening it would take over the investigation in accordance with state law.
New York State Police and the Oneonta Police Department declined to comment further on the investigation, directing all inquiries to the state Attorney General’s Office.
The AG's office did not return emails and phone calls requesting further information by Wednesday evening.
According to the city of Oneonta website, Pajerski has been employed with OPD since May 2003. Before his promotion to sergeant, he served as a uniformed patrol officer, field training officer and bicycle patrol officer.
Pajerski is a member of the Oneonta Police Department's Special Response Team and is an advanced accident investigator, according to the city website. He serves as the department’s traffic safety coordinator and his most recent duties include maintaining the department’s license plate reader and accident reporting software.
Pajerski is listed as holding a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Northern Illinois University.
*story changed at 6:56 p.m. to clarify the officers took leave and were not placed on leave.