VINELAND — During a July 14 standoff with police that ended in the fatal shooting of Rashaun Washington, Washington spoke about his children and threatened to trigger an explosive device that would kill himself and several officers, according to body camera footage.

Police responded to the 400 block of West Wood Street that Saturday afternoon for a report of a man “acting suspiciously” on the front porch, officials said. There, they found the 37-year-old Camden man, shirtless, pacing in the driveway and holding what appears to be a wrapped up shirt.

“I’m going to die right here, right now,” Washington tells police in a video released by city police. “You all are going to have to shoot me in the head.”

Washington holds the shirt in both hands at his waist as officers reply that they don’t want to shoot him.

“Once the tip goes off, it goes off,” he says. ”A couple of us are going to blow the (expletive) up.”

As Sgt. Brian Armstrong holds a large gun pointed at Washington, Officer Louis Platania takes his K-9 out of his car, then puts the dog back inside to speak to Washington.

Although Washington doesn’t reveal his name, as officers attempt to calm him down and ask questions about his life, Washington tells them he has two children, a boy and a girl, ages 13 and 11.

“They going to go to college,” he said. “They going to be somebody. They ain’t going to be like me.”

Platania says several times he believes Washington is holding a t-shirt rolled tight or a knife.

“It’s something light brown and skinny, possibly a knife,” Platania tells other officers at the scene.

Platania pulls binoculars out of his car to get a closer look, but then Washington gets more agitated, lunging forward, a slight bend in his waist, standing sideways and shifting from foot to foot.

“Armstrong, I’m 99 percent sure it’s not an explosive,” Platania says. “I think it’s a knife.”

“If he starts going crazy I’m gonna dog him,” he says.

Then, Washington sprints forward, toward the officers, Armstrong shoots him three times. As Washington falls, the K-9 bites down on him and Washington is pepper sprayed.

After Washington is taken away in an ambulance, Sgt. Craig Scarpa walks past the site of the shooting.

“All that for some god(expletive) shears — mother(expletive),” he says.

The standoff lasted about 28 minutes.

Armstrong remains on paid administrative leave from the Vineland Police Department since Washington’s death. Armstrong’s salary is listed as $102,824, according to public records.

The shooting is under investigation by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, per Attorney General guidelines.

Contact: 609-272-7241
Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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