Norfolk Police: Man lunged at officers with knife before he was shot, killed

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NORFOLK, Va. - A 43-year-old Norfolk man was shot and killed by Norfolk Police officers Thursday evening after he reportedly lunged at them with a knife.

Willie James (Courtesy: James family)

Willie James (Courtesy: James family)

Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith held a press conference on Friday morning to discuss the incident and the investigation into the city's 5th police-involved shooting of the year.

Goldsmith said officers were in the 400 block of Chapel Street on a separate investigation when they were alerted about a fight that was taking place.

The man involved in the fight was in an upstairs bedroom of the residence. When officers entered the residence, they attempted to negotiate with the man from the bottom of the stairwell.

It was then that the man, identified as 43-year-old Willie D. James, came to the top of the stairs holding a knife. As police attempted to give the man verbal commands, he charged down he steps and lunged towards officers, weapon in hand.

The two officers then discharged their firearms, striking the man several times.

Public Information Officer Corporal Wray said the officer-involved shooting was called in shortly after 6:45 p.m.

Chief Goldsmith says both officers immediately started to administer first aid and called paramedics to the scene.

Read Chief Michael Goldsmith's full statement here.

The man was transported from the scene to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The knife James was holding was recovered and is being described as a large kitchen knife.

Knife reportedly used by Willie D. James when he lunged at officers (Norfolk Police)

Knife reportedly used by Willie D. James when he lunged at officers (Norfolk Police)

The investigation is ongoing and the two officers involved have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Chief Goldsmith said Friday that one of the officers is a 13-year veteran of the Norfolk Police Department, and the other officer is a three-year veteran.

A woman claiming to be James' niece said Thursday that police came into the home after hearing her uncle and mother argue.

"He came down the steps with his hands up then he started talking crazy, and he jumped down like four steps, and they unloaded him," she said. "They already saw he had nothing in his hands, they could have tased him, they did not have to shoot him seven times."

Chief Goldsmith says one of the officers was wearing a body camera that did capture the entire incident. However, it is too early in the investigation for that footage to be released.

"I trust my officers. I trust our process," he said during the press conference.

Click here to read a statement from the Norfolk Police Union.

Map: 2016 homicides in Hampton Roads, surrounding areas

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