CLEVELAND (AP) - An unarmed man fatally shot by a police officer after being transported to a homeless shelter had tackled the officer when he was initially zapped with a stun gun, according to police video footage released Thursday.
Authorities said Stow police officer Robert Molody shot William Porubsky on Sunday night in the parking lot of the Haven of Rest shelter in Akron.
The officer’s body camera video shows Porubsky refusing to leave Molody’s police cruiser, eventually getting out, then running back to try to open the driver’s door as Molody points a stun gun at him. The video then shows Porubsky charging the officer and pushing aside his stun gun, then fleeing as the officer zaps at him with the stun gun.
The footage shows Porubsky turning and tackling the officer, knocking the body camera to the ground. The two are heard but not seen fighting before two gunshots are fired. Porubsky was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead.
Events leading to the shooting started about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, when police responded to reports of a man who’d jumped the fence of a house in Stow, pounded on a door and asked for cigarettes, records show. The footage shows Molody stopping Porubsky by the side of a road and bantering easily with him, asking Porubsky where he wants to go. The video shows Porubsky initially agrees to be taken to Akron but later starts arguing with the officer, asking to be taken back to Stow.
“I’m not taking you back with nowhere to go,” Molody says. “Dude, I am not a taxi.”
Forty-six Stow police incident reports involving Porubsky obtained through an open records request show he was well known by Stow officers.
Porubsky’s childhood friend Patty Barnes called him a “really lovable guy” who had been sent to a psychiatric ward by Stow officers and diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past.
“He didn’t need the Haven of Rest, he needed a psychiatric evaluation,” Barnes said. “Dealing with somebody’s who’s mentally ill, I feel that you can’t just put them down like a sick dog, you know?”
Police records show Porubsky was sent to an Akron hospital in February 2016 after he had an anxiety attack and was reported to have stripped his clothes off in public.
Porubsky’s grandmother Judy Varner said his alcoholic father was in and out of prison and left him when he was young. Police records show that Porubsky’s stepfather was arrested in October 2004 for attempting to assault him and that Porubsky was kicked out of his mother’s apartment in 2005. Later that year, Porubsky’s mother and stepfather moved to Florida, Varner said. Porubsky moved in with his grandparents but left after a few months to live with friends.
Porubsky’s mother died in a motorcycle accident in 2008, and his stepfather hanged himself a year or two later, Varner said.
Court records show Porubsky had been convicted of drug possession, burglary and domestic violence and was most recently sentenced to 10 months in prison for attempted burglary in October 2016. Varner said every time Porubsky got out of prison he wanted to straighten up but he had no family to rely on.
“The only people he knew were on drugs,” Varner said. “They were his family to him.”
Porubsky’s toxicology results were unavailable, a medical examiner said.
Molody is on paid leave. His personnel file does not show a significant disciplinary history. The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is overseeing the case.
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