Ohio cop's bodycam shows deadly gunfire exchange after New Year's Eve celebratory shots

Bodycam footage of police shooting of James Williams

Footage shows shooting of James Williams in Canton city, Ohio, on New Year's

Newly released body camera video shows the moment an Ohio police officer opens fire early on New Year's Day, killing a man whose wife said he had just fired celebratory shots into the air from their yard.

"I saw the male’s head through the fence after I heard the shots," the officer can be heard saying on a quiet street in Canton, about 60 miles south of Cleveland. "I got in my cruiser and went up to the porch and saw him putting the rifle away."

Still of body camera footage showing Marquetta Williams emerge from her home with her hands up after a cop shot her husband (Canton Police Department)

Suddenly more than a dozen loud bangs can be heard, and the officer rushes toward the side of a house. The cop opens fire through a six-foot-high wooden fence. He then yells, "Shots fired! Shots fired! Police! Get down!"

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On the other side of the fence, James Williams, 46, had just shot into the air to ring in the new year with his wife, Marquetta Williams, and other family members, according to The Repository.

"Out of the blue, he said he got shot, he got hit," the wife told the local newspaper. "I don’t know where it came from. Nobody said anything. They didn't say, ‘Police’ They didn't say, ‘Freeze.’ They didn't say, ‘Drop your weapon.’ They just shot him."

(Canton Police Department)

After the officer opens fire, he can be heard calling for backup as he races to his cruiser to retrieve a rifle. Two other officers can be seen, one pointing his gun toward the house.

"Show me your f—king hands!" says the officer, as Marquetta Williams emerges from the front door of the house with her hands up.

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"My husband is shot, my husband is shot," she says.

"He’s the one shooting the gun," replies the cop, who hasn't been publicly identified.

"My husband needs help," Marquetta Williams pleads. "You are not moving fast enough. He is in there bleeding."

The officer, his rifle raised, storms into the house with several cops behind him. He can be heard saying that there’s a man on the floor who has been shot in the chest and that there are multiple firearms in the house.

Still from body camera footage showing James Williams' family huddled on their steps 

Still from body camera footage showing James Williams' family huddled on their steps  (Canton Police Department)

Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo issued a statement Saturday. He said police were investigating a "shots fired" incident six minutes after midnight in the 2300 block of 10th Street.

"When the officer, who was outside of his vehicle, confronted a subject that began shooting a firearm, the officer, in fear for his safety, fired his duty weapon at the subject and struck him," Angelo said.

James Williams was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The cop was placed on administrative duty, and the Canton Police Department asked the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation to take over the probe, officials said.

Marquetta Williams told The Repository that their three girls were watching the countdown on TV at midnight when the adults stepped outside onto the patio.

Her husband used her AR-15 to fire shots into the air. He does not have a concealed carry permit but she does, she said.

"We do this every year because it was New Year’s Eve," she told the paper. "Everybody was shooting (in the neighborhood). It was a tradition. Everybody shoots on New Year’s Eve."

Williams was a stay-at-home father, who had four daughters ages 9 through 15 and two step-daughters, the wife said.

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"My husband was a good man, and he didn’t deserve to die this way," Marquetta Williams said. "I just want justice for him."

Rebecca Rosenberg Fox News