ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca Police Department is asking for the public’s help in establishing a possible motive for Saturday morning’s attack on an officer that left the officer in the hospital and the assailant dead.

In a press release on Monday afternoon, IPD asked members of the public to come forward with leads.

“As the investigation is continuing into the officer-involved shooting from Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, the IPD Investigations Division is requesting the public to please contact us if they have any information which they feel would be relevant to address a possible motive in this attack,” reads the statement. “This includes information pertaining to any prior statements, actions, or suspicious behavior that may have been demonstrated by Michael DeCastro leading up to the incident.”

If you believe you have information that may help, IPD requests you get in touch with investigators at either:

IPD Investigations 607-216-3230

If prompted to leave a message on the phone number listed above, please do so and an investigator will re-contact you.

Or via the IPD anonymous tip-line from at www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips 


Update —Saturday afternoon

DRYDEN, N.Y. — Police have identified the deceased attacker of an IPD officer in the lobby of Ithaca Police Department Headquarters this morning that resulted in an officer shooting and killing the suspect.

Michael DeCastro, 57, of Ithaca was shot and killed after entering the lobby of police headquarters shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

DeCastro was wielding a 9-inch butcher knife, said Nayor.

New details are limited, but Ithaca Chief of Police Dennis Nayor described the attack, which only lasted 20 to 25 seconds, as “a quick act of violence.”

“That has the appearance of a random, unprovoked, vicious attack on a police officer,” Nayor told press this afternoon.

Nayor did share that there is video of the attack and shooting and that law enforcement would be looking to share that with the public in the coming days.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind — our Sergeant saved his own life, and was entirely justified in his actions,” said Mayor Svante Myrick on Facebook on Saturday afternoon. “I also believe that he saved the lives of other officers. His actions were nothing short of heroic. He has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.”

The name of the officer is being withheld, but Chief Nayor confirmed the officer has been released from the hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

Police say DeCastro had no clear motive. As of the time of publication, Clinton Street, between Spencer and Cayuga — the block the police headquarters is on, is still closed because it is an active crime scene.

This story was updated at 3:32 p.m.

Editor’s Note: We attempted to live stream the press conference held at 3 p.m. today. As many of our readers noticed and many shared, we had audio issues with that stream. It has been removed from our page. We will be looking to secure more reliable live stream equipment in the new year. Thank you for your patience and our apologies for the inconvenience. 

Original report — Saturday morning

ITHACA, N.Y.—An Ithaca Police Department officer was attacked this morning in Ithaca Police Department Headquarters resulting in the fatal shooting of the suspect by the officer.

Early this morning, just before 6:30 a.m., an officer was attacked by an individual armed with a large knife inside of the lobby of Police Headquarters, according to a press release from IPD Saturday morning.

This incident resulted in the officer fatally shooting the individual.

IPD is reporting that the officer sustained minor injuries and is being treated at a regional medical center.

The name of the deceased is being withheld at this time.

The Tompkins County District Attorney and the New York State Attorney General’s Office have been contacted and are actively involved in this investigation.

New York State Police and Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office are also assisting with this investigation.

A press conference will be scheduled later today to provide more details.