Family wants answers after police officer shoots man in Norfolk

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The family of a man shot by a Norfolk Police officer is looking for answers.

Isaiah Swift is currently in critical but stable condition. The 23-year-old was shot by an officer in the 800 block of E. Olney Street on Saturday evening, per Police Chief Larry Boone.

Boone says just before 7 p.m., officers in the area saw Swift, who had outstanding warrants for obstruction of justice and eluding police.

Officers told Swift to stop, but Boone said that Swift ran away.

Boone said that during the chase, the officer saw that Swift had a weapon, and after refusing more commands, the officer fired a single shot.

Swift was treated by officers at the scene before medics arrived and transported him to the hospital.

10 On Your Side spoke with family member Kristen Swift, who returned with others to the scene of the shooting at the Save-N-Shop Parking Lot.

She said that someone called their family after the shooting and told them that Isaiah Swift had been shot. The family went to the hospital and waited for hours, but got very little information from doctors and police.

Kristen Swift says that the family was told they could not talk to her cousin.

“We’re upset. We should be able to talk to him. It’s under investigation that he can’t communicate with his family after he was shot and being in the hospital? That doesn’t make sense!” she said. “You shot him in his back and you’re telling us we can’t speak with him? That’s not right.”

Police would not reveal where exactly Swift was shot and say that Virginia State Police are currently investigating the incident.

The Norfolk officer involved has since been placed on administrative duty.

“The officer is obviously distraught; officers usually tend to be. He’s OK. We work in a very dynamic city. As I’ve said for the last four years, there is a severe issue with handguns, not just in Norfolk but Hampton Roads,” Boone said.

Officers recovered a weapon at the scene and Boone says that since Swift is a convicted felon, that makes it illegal for him to be in possession of one.

Isaiah Swift

From 2017 to 2019, officers recovered nearly 1,300 weapons off the streets and 54 percent of them were in the hands of convicted felons, according to Boone.

While the shooting is upsetting to him, the police chief says the community should also focus on other types of violence.

“There’s a shooting almost every night involving African American young men shooting each other and I never see the same intensity,” he said. “I understand we are the government and held to a higher standard, but it bothers me just as much when an officer’s involved in a shooting as you’ve seen my passion when it relates to young African American men. This isn’t new to me. I’ve said this the last four years.”

Boone stressed that officers only fire their weapons when they feel their lives are in danger.

But Swift’s family still wants answers. 

“We want justice. We’re not going to let up lightly. They shot him in his back. They’re trying to justify it and send him to jail. They’re not going to do him like that,” Kristen Swift said. “We want justice. They’re not giving us any information on this case.”

Police say Swift is being held on charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and obstruction of justice. 

As of May 21, the Norfolk Circuit Court released information that Swift was granted a $50,000 surety bond, and his jury trial is scheduled at NCC for June 25.


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