Man Fatally Shot By Police Was Carrying Toy Rifle: NMBPD

Officers responded when multiple calls reported a man walking down NE 14th Ave with a rifle

A rifle carried by a man shot and killed by North Miami Beach police Wednesday afternoon was determined to be a toy, NMBPD spokesman Sgt. Warren Hardison said.

The man, who was identified by authorities as Ernest Vassell, was the subject of multiple 911 calls that reported him walking south on Northeast 14th Avenue near 153rd Terrace and carrying a rifle.

One caller reported the man had pointed the rifle at a dog.

Hardison said several NMBPD units responded to the scene.

"[They] saw the man with the rifle," said Hardison. "There was an encounter between the gentleman and police. Shots were fired, and as a result the man with the rifle has died."

The weapon was recovered on scene, Hardison said, and later determined to be a toy.

He was not yet able to confirm how many police officers fired their weapons.

Vassell was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center after the shooting, but did not survive.

No one else was injured in the incident.

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