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Man Shot in Front of Open Door Mission Had Spent Earlier Part of Day in Different Shelter

Patti Singer

The map shows the area where Rochester Police encountered Tyshon J. Jones at around 3 a.m. March 10, 2021. File photo

The man with a knife who was shot by Rochester police shortly after 3 a.m. on March 10 in front of the Open Door Mission lived in Gates and earlier in the day had been taken by Gates Police to a different homeless shelter – after they first found the barefoot man a pair of shoes.

Apparently, the same shoes he was wearing when he died.

The Rochester Police Department announced March 12 that the man was identified as 29-year-old Tyshon J. Jones and said he lived in Gates with his mother.

According to Rochester and Gates police, Mr. Jones’ final hours started with an altercation at a store in Gates, where the person he engaged ended up buying him food.

The story of Mr. Jones’ final 10 hours left Gates officers “shocked and saddened,” according to Chief James VanBrederode.

“Our officers recognized him from the RPD body camera footage and it was at that point that we realized he was a homeless person we dealt with just 10 hours before his death,” VanBrederode said in a statement. “From the body cam video, it appears he was wearing these same boots when he died.”

Rochester Police said the investigation continues but pieced together a timeline.

Mr. Jones left his home late on the morning of March 9. Between 3 and 4 p.m., he was at a store in Gates, where a confrontation with another person led to that individual buying him food.

Mr. Jones followed the person to his residence.

Gates Police were called because Mr. Jones had no shoes. He told the officers he was homeless, and police convinced him to let them take him to a shelter on Hobart Street. According to VanBrederode, the shelter refused to allow Mr. Jones to enter because he didn’t have shoes. An officer found a pair of Timberland work boots, and Jones was able to go into the shelter.

According to the Rochester Police news release, Jones did not show any signs of being a danger to himself or others.

“Mr. Jones was treated with the utmost respect and compassion,” VanBrederode said of his officers’ interaction with the man.

Mr. Jones entered the shelter at about 4:30 p.m., according to RPD. He left at about 11:30 p.m. and for the next three hours wandered in the area of West Avenue, Chili Avenue, Main Street and downtown.

At about 2:20 a.m., Rochester police were called to a residential building on East Broad Street, where Jones allegedly entered locked doors. He left as police arrived and there was no interaction.

Police said Jones continued to wander in downtown until he arrived at the Open Door Mission at about 2:55 a.m.

Officers had been called to the mission at 210 W. Main St. and were told a man had taken knives. Officers encountered Jones around the corner to the west, where police said he was making threats to kill them and cutting himself.

Body-worn camera footage showed two officers repeatedly telling Jones to drop the knife, and one officer was asking his name. Officers retreated down Industrial Street, Cascade Drive and West Main Street. He closes the gap on one officer at the curb in front of 210 W. Main St. as the officer is backing up toward a wall. The officer tells him, “Don’t, don’t, don’t. Back up right now.”

Jones continued to advance and the officer fired five shots. The officer led the rescue effort, instructing others where to apply pressure to the wounds and talking to Jones until an ambulance arrived.

The officer is on administrative leave while RPD conducts an investigation.