The June 22 shooting of Timothy Deal on Kentucky Avenue was tragic but justified, as Deal attacked an officer with a knife, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said Tuesday.
Tyner released video from the body cameras worn by the officers on the scene of the shooting.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that a sworn police officer reported to the scene of an accident to protect the public, and was attacked for no apparent reason,” Tyner said in a statement. “The officer defended himself and protected the public from untold harm. This incident reminds us of how fragile life can be, and we should all be thankful that no innocent bystanders were injured.”
Tyner also cautioned that the shooting of Deal should not be compared to police shootings elsewhere in the country, “where unarmed individuals have been assaulted and in some instances killed.”
“Each incident has its own set of facts and must be investigated separately,” the prosecutor said.
Steve Young, chairman of the Atlantic City chapter of the National Action Network, said the prosecutor’s decision to release the videos on the same day as Deal’s funeral was disrespectful. Deal’s services took place Tuesday at the All Wars Memorial Building on Adriatic Avenue, Young said.
“This has disturbed and interrupted (the family’s) mourning,” Young said. “We are asking everyone to still come together and support the family.”
Later Tuesday evening, family and community members gathered where Deal was shot for a small memorial. Latasha Whaley placed her hand on the photo of her late cousin, saying Deal was a great man and a great member of the Atlantic City community.
“The hardest part of this whole thing to watch is our family and his sister, his nieces … they’re heartbroken,” Whaley said. “To see our cousin tell her daughter that her uncle — her best friend — is never coming home was the hardest thing to watch.”
The group that met on North Kentucky Avenue wore red shirts with family photos of Deal, some shirts with the slogan “Justice for Tim.”
The shooting death of Deal happened June 22 on the 600 block of North Kentucky, where officers were investigating a hit-and-run crash with injuries, according to previous reports. During the investigation, Deal, who was not involved in the accident, approached and allegedly stabbed one of the officers with a knife, police and the prosecutor said.