SLPD officers returning from leave after fatal shooting | News, Sports, Jobs

SARANAC LAKE – The two Saranac Lake police officers involved in the shooting death of a man with a knife at Stewart’s stores in Saranac Lake in July are returning to the force after being on administrative leave for two months.

The investigation into the shooting by the New York State Police and the State Attorney General’s Office is not yet complete, but SLPD leader Darin Perrotte said he has no no indication that the police could not return.

“It’s basically at the discretion of the village and the chief of police,” said Perrotte. “We don’t think there will be anything criminal coming out of it.”

He said there were two sides to this investigation – the criminal side, which he said won’t bring any charges; and policy recommendations, which he said could involve the state requesting or requiring certain policy changes or training.

Officer Gabrielle Beebe is already back on the force, Perrotte said. She was attacked by the man with a knife, Joshua De’Miguel Kavota, before officer Aaron Sharlow fired two shots, fatally striking Kavota in the chest.

Sharlow will return in the next two weeks or so, Perrotte said.

Village manager Erik Stender said it was up to Sharlow when he would return and that he had asked for more time before returning.

Perrotte said Sharlow was hesitant to speak about the shooting, saying he was “tight lips.”

Perrotte said there’s still no word on when the reports containing the state’s findings will be released. He said state investigators recently returned to the department some of the officers’ gear that was taken as evidence.


Sharlow and Beebe responded to the Stewart’s Shops parking lot around 8:30 a.m. on June 29 after receiving a report of a stabbing on Bloomingdale’s Avenue. Kavota, 33, of Saranac Lake had an altercation with a mental health advocate and allegedly stabbed him before heading to the gas station parking lot.

Beebe approached Kavota – who was standing outside the front door of Stewart’s Shops in Saranac Lake – and asked her to put the knife back in her pocket. After a brief exchange, Kavota pulled the knife – what appeared in body camera footage as a fixed-blade kitchen knife with a wooden handle – from his pocket and charged at Beebe, who yelled and stumbled back. .

Sharlow shot Kavota as Kavota stood above Beebe. Beebe began treating Kavota’s gunshot wounds within a minute of the gunshots, but Kavota was later transported to Adirondack Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The Adirondack Diversity Initiative revealed that the man who was stabbed by Kavota before police arrived was a mental health advocate who was called in to help Kavota after he was reported to be acting erratically.

Kavota was in the care of Lakeside House, a social service organization that focuses on housing people with mental illness in the city.

The man who was stabbed was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and released the same day, according to village police.

On July 2, ADI members, after reviewing the body camera footage before it was made public, said they “I don’t believe this was a racially motivated incident.” Kavota was a person of color; Sharlow is white.

“It appears from the evidence that the life of the officer was in imminent danger,” ADI wrote in a statement.

SLPD staff

Stender said the department currently has 11 members — seven officers and four sergeants. But two of those officers – Ashley Pittman and Katie Fischer – were hired in June, are still at the academy and cannot patrol until next year. The actual number of departments is therefore closer to nine members for the time being.

Stender said that ideally he would have 11 members.

The academy lasts approximately four months, followed by six months of supervised on-the-job training.

In August, the village council approved the creation of a Special Events Patrol Officer position and a Deputy Chief position to replace public event patrols and administrative duties during a low staffing period. .

Village Mayor Jimmy Williams said the positions needed to be created to prevent the department from reducing its night shift.

The council authorized former SLPD officer Casey Reardon to be the deputy leader. Stender said Reardon has done well in this new role.

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