Two Memphis Police officers have been identified who shot and killed a 24-year-old man Jan. 17 While he was in a parked car in a southeast apartment complex.
A news release from the Memphis Police Department identified the officers as Ned Aufdenkamp, 30, and Matthew Dyess, 31.
Lawyers for victim's family call the officers' behavior reckless and improper conduct and are launching their own investigation.
"On Thursday evening Jan. 17, shortly before 10 p.m., officers with the Memphis police shot and unjustifiably killed Steven Askew," Howard Manis, Mr. Askew's family defense attorney, said during a news conference Tuesday.
Manis said Mr. Askew was in his car waiting for his girlfriend to come home. The defense attorney said he was not the type of person who would knowingly pull a weapon on police.
Police, though, say Mr. Askew pointed a weapon on their officers and they returned fire.
MORE: Memphis officers fatally shoot man in car
Manis said the 24-year-old was killed due to the blatant disregard of his civil rights and welfare. Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess first responded to a loud music disturbance call at the apartment complex and spotted a man slumped over in a car in a parking space.
As the officers proceeded to check on Mr. Askew, police say the man pointed a weapon at the officers.
"Witnesses say he was asleep in his car," Manis said. "Whether or not he was asleep at time police arrived or made contact with him, I don't know."
"I had my son in the house and I'm thinking it's somebody else just shooting," recalled Contrell Young, who lives at the apartment complex. "But it was really the police shooting at him."
While police say there's no dash cam video, the defense attorney says someone video recorded parts of the shooting. Mains says the video scatters doubt about proper police protocol at the scene.
"Based upon the video, it appears that three additional shots were fired after a significant time had elapsed from the initial onslaught," he said.
Police Director Toney Armstrong said the noise recorded on the video "is not indicative of gunfire."
"There's a lot of noise recorded on the video but it is not indicative of gunfire," Director Armstrong said. "The physical reaction of all officers even those not directly involved in the shooting, and the witnesses on the scene did not support additional gunfire."
As Mr. Askew's family continues to grieve, signs of loss remind the community about a tragic killing with more questions than answers.
"He had no criminal record and his reason for being there was lawful and easily explained, had the police only asked," Manis said. "He was meeting his girlfriend, that's all."
Director Armstrong said his officers gave several verbal commands to Mr. Askew, and he acknowledged the officers presence. Mr. Askew also had a valid permit to carry his .380 handgun, which was found loaded in his car. He was previously arrested in 2010 for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Director Armstrong said his homicide detectives are investigating Thursday evening's shooting and they will piece together what happened.
Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess, assigned to the Mount Moriah station, have been are relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Officer Aufdenkamp has been with the police department for six years, Officer Dyess for only three.
"After the suspect acknowledged the officers presence and several verbal commands were given by the officer, the suspect armed himself with a hand gun and pointed it at one of the officers," Director Armstrong said. "Both fired their duty weapons, fatally wounding the suspect."
Several shots were discharged from the officers' service weapons. It is unclear how many shots were fired at Mr. Askew.
"Our officers are trained to shoot until they neutralize the threat," Director Armstrong said. "Our officers are faced with situations such as this one on a daily basis, it's so unfortunate this one had to end as tragically as it did."
This is the second officer-involved fatal shooting of the year.
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