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J.C. Police Officer Shot and Killed With Own Weapon

Officials have released details on this morning's shooting.
An on-duty Johnson City Police Officer was shot near Wilson Hospital this morning.

He died about an hour later. The suspect is also dead.

The tragedy unfolded outside of Southern Tier Imaging across from Wilson Hospital at about 7 a.m.

43-year-old Officer David Smith had just started his shift at 6:45. 18 minutes later he arrived at the medical facility at 32 Harrison Street because of a disturbance call as an employee was acting weird.

As soon as Officer Smith arrived he was attacked by the worker.

"Shortly after Officer Smith arrived, the suspect came out of Southern Tier Imaging, waving his hands and yelling something that witnesses couldn't make out. Officer Smith was preparing to exit his vehicle, had opened the car door and the suspect immediately attacked him and punched him several times," said Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski.

During the fight, the suspect, 43-year-old James Clark, an MRI Technician at Southern Tier Imaging, was able to get a hold of Smith's gun. He then shot him two times.

About the same time another officer arrived and Clark started shooting at him. That officer shot Clark, who died in surgery about three hours later.

"At this point we have no idea why he did what he did. It's our understanding that things were normal at this residence yesterday. He spoke to family members before he left for work and everything appeared to be normal," said Zikuski.

However, Johnson City Police Chief Joe Zikuski says he wasn't mentally stable by the time he got to work.

Clark lived in Greene with his wife and at least one child and had worked at Southern Tier Imaging for about eight years. When he arrived he was trying to keep other imaging employees out of the building saying that there was a bomb inside.

The Endicott Bomb Squad was called in to clear the area. No bomb was found.

Police say there were two calls to 911 before the shooting because of Clark's mental state. The first actually might have been from Clark.

Once he got Officer Smith's gun, he shot all 15 bullets.

Chief Zikuski doesn't believe there was anything that Smith could have done that would have saved his life.

"Officer Smith never stood a chance. I would go as far to say that he might not have even known that the guy was running up, he came from behind. He was opening his car door and the guy attacked him," said Zikuski. "All of this took place in two to three minutes, which is normally what happens. There's no training in this world that could have prevented this. It's just one of these extremely unfortunate circumstances."

"He was a good officer," said Zikuski. "He was a detective in the recent past and he's been assigned to the day shift for a year or so. He's going to be missed by his comrades and his family."
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