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Guidance Center Shooting

Police cruisers sit in the parking lot of The Guidance Center Sunday morning following a fatal officer-involved shooting.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office released new information saying the Idaho man who was aggressively brandishing knives was fatally shot twice by a police officer outside of The Guidance Center on Sunday, Feb. 3.

Sheriff's officials explained that body camera footage shows that officer Tyler Romney fired three of his shots during the altercation within one second. The footage reportedly shows that Russell reacted by immediately turning to his right. One shot hit Russell in the leg and another struck Russell in the back.

The medical examiner performed an autopsy on Monday and confirmed that Russell was struck twice by gunfire, with one wound in the right leg and one wound in the back. The completed medical examiner’s report is pending toxicology and is not expected to be completed for several weeks.

This officer-involved shooting was committed 11 days after the first shooting in West Topeka Avenue in January.

Russell's background

Sheriff's officials are looking into Russell's background before the shooting took place.

Russell was convicted in Idaho in 2005 for sexual abuse of a child under 16 years old and had served time in prison multiple times, according to the Sheriff's Office. They state that the conviction required Russell to register as a sex offender.

Russell had not registered with local law enforcement as required by law, according to the Sheriff's Office. Russell had recently been released from the Idaho Department of Corrections on Dec. 3, 2018, but had not requested permission to leave the state according to Idaho Department of Corrections parole, and violated his parole conditions.

Sheriff's detectives confirmed that Russell was not a patient of the Guidance Center and it is unknown why he was at that location on Sunday. Investigators found Russell had stayed at Flagstaff Shelter Services on Jan. 28.

It is still unknown exactly how long he had been in the Flagstaff area. Russell did not have any known family in Flagstaff or connections to the Flagstaff area, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Russell had no contacts with local law enforcement in and around the Flagstaff area prior to the shooting. Additional information indicated that Russell had been admitted to the Flagstaff Medical Center with an overdose in mid-January.

The shooting

At approximately 9:27 a.m. on the day of the shooting, two Flagstaff police officers were leaving The Guidance Center in Flagstaff on an unrelated call when an individual, identified as Henry Harold Russell, 47, from Boise, Idaho, confronted the officers brandishing two knives.

As Officer Romney backed away from Russell, he gave Russell commands to drop the knives. Russell allegedly charged the officer with a knife in each hand, prompting the officer to discharge his weapon striking Russell.

Officers on scene provided lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived. Russell was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.

The officers involved in the incident were not injured in the altercation. Romney is a more than three-year veteran of the department. He was placed on administrative leave by the Flagstaff Police Department pending the outcome of the investigation, in accordance with department policy and procedure.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Scott Buffon can be reached at sbuffon@azdailysun.com, on Twitter @scottbuffon or by phone at (928) 556-2250.

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Senior Reporter - Cops, Environment

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