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Neighbor calls deadly Henrico officer-involved shooting ‘thoroughly justified’

'I heard hysterical screaming, basically a woman screaming for her life.'
Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 20:45:59-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – A neighbor said he heard frantic screaming moments before an officer opened fire on a suspect in Henrico’s far West End Thursday night.

Henrico Police officers responded to the block of 2300 block Strangford Court to assist Richmond Police in locating a wanted man who was being served an arrest warrant for a carjacking that occurred Feb. 25 in the city.

Police say they located 31-year-old Ajay Kamil Ayseli in in the driveway, but he ran inside the house.

As officers approached the home, police said they witnessed Ayseli him stabbing a woman with a knife.

“A Henrico Police officer, who was positioned closest to the attacker, discharged his service weapon, striking the adult male,” said a Henrico Police spokesperson.

William Anderson, who lives next door to the home, ran outside after he heard screaming.

“I heard hysterical screaming, basically a woman screaming for her life,” Anderson recalled.

He saw four officers with their guns drawn on the front steps of the home.

“I could hear [the officers] yelling, ‘Come out, come out, come out!’” Anderson stated. “Then, ‘He’s holding her hostage.’ Then, I thought I heard, ‘He’s got a gun.’ Immediately after that there were two gunshots.”

Police said aid was rendered to Ayseli and the female victim at the scene.

Ayseli was transported to the hospital where he died of his injuries.

The female victim sustained multiple stab wounds and was transported to an area hospital. She is in critical but stable condition, according to police.

A family relative said the suspect and victim were a former couple. Their three-year-old son witnessed the incident, according to the family.

“The police were very good about that -- they came out with [the boy], carrying him, and running to another police officer that held him and went off with him,” Anderson explained. “Hopefully he’s so young he won’t remember it, but definitely it was upsetting.”

The child was unharmed and currently being cared for by family members in the Richmond area.

Henrico Chief of Police Humberto I. Cardounel Jr. released a statement following the fatal shooting.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in this traumatic event. This incident underscores the difficult decisions law enforcement officers are faced with on a daily basis. Sworn to serve and protect, our officers are trained to use deadly force as an absolute last resort. However, initial details in this incident suggest the actions of the officers saved the life of the female victim being violently attacked – had they not acted more swiftly, more lives may have been tragically lost. I continue to have complete faith in the men and women sworn to protect our community and have every confidence in the teams tasked with objectively investigating this incident. Please be mindful we are in the very early stages of this investigation and will provide updates as we gather the facts.”

Neither the female victim nor the officer involved will be identified at this time, per Henrico Police policy.

“Detectives are still in the early stages of their investigation,” a Henrico Police spokesperson said.

Ayseli has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2007, according to online court records.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative assignment, which is standard procedure in any officer-involved incident.

“This would be a time when a police shooting that would be thoroughly justified,” Anderson said. “To protect a life, absolutely.”

Officer Involved Investigations Team and Team and Criminal Investigations Section are investigating the fatal shooting.

Once the investigations are complete, the findings will be turned over to the Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor.