A Manlius man, fatally shot by troopers after New York State Police say he pointed a gun at them during a domestic disturbance Tuesday afternoon, has been identified.
State police announced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that Kenneth Bennett, 61, of 140 Wilson Drive, was shot and killed by troopers during the domestic incident at his home.
Bennett was pointing a long gun, later identified as a Daisy lever-action BB gun, at troopers at the time he was shot, State Police Capt. Jeffrey Raub said.
The trooper who shot Bennett was identified as Trooper Gary M. Novotny. Novotny has been a trooper for about 3 1/2 years, Raub said.
Bennett was arguing with his family and had assaulted his sister with a baseball bat, which led Bennett’s niece to call 911. At one point, Bennett took the phone and made threats to police that they would have to kill him, as well as went on nonsensical rants about warlocks and Hell’s Angels, Raub said.
When police arrived, Bennett went in and out of the house for about an hour — sometimes armed with a weapon, such as a baseball bat or a long gun — making threats at police.
A SWAT team and personnel from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and Manlius Police were at the scene, as police tried to negotiate with him to put his weapon down.
Bennett leveled his gun toward police on several occasions. Manlius police fired non-lethal foam rounds at Bennett in an effort to immobilize him, but it was unsuccessful. Raub said Bennett told police that they would “need to shoot him in the head.”
Eventually, Bennett started approaching troopers, who were shielding themselves behind a vehicle. Despite repeated efforts, Bennett did not stop approaching, nor did he put down his weapon.
Novotny fired a single shot at Bennett with his division-issued rifle, striking him in the abdomen.
State police started life-saving measures on Bennett. Bennett was rushed to Upstate University Hospital. He died at 5:08 p.m.
While searching the 140 Wilson Drive residence early Wednesday morning, police uncovered components used for methamphetamine manufacturing inside Bennett’s upstairs apartment, Raub said. Toxicology reports to determine if and what drugs Bennett was under the influence of at the time of the incident are pending.
Bennett does have several prior misdemeanor convictions and police have been called to 140 Wilson Drive in the past, Raub said.
“Law enforcement was familiar with Mr. Bennett,” Raub said.
As with all police-involved fatal shootings in Onondaga County, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick will investigate. Fitzpatrick said he plans to bring the case before a grand jury, though grand juries are currently not meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic. If he is unable to assemble a grand jury in a timely manner, Fitzpatrick will assess the case himself.