Rochester officer dies in shooting, leaves behind wife and kids

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Officers across western New York are mourning a fallen Rochester police officer. Rochester Police Chief Mike Ciminelli said that Officer Daryl R. Pierson, an 8-year veteran was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Media outlets report this is the man suspected of shooting a Rochester officer.
Media outlets report this is the man suspected of shooting a Rochester officer.

Pierson was 32-year-old when he died. He was a father and husband, who left behind a 4-month old and his oldest child started kindergarten Wednesday. Pierson also served with the US Army National Guard.

There are reports the suspect had just been released from prison on parole. Local media reports the suspect is Thomas Johnson III. The district attorney will talk about the investigation later Thursday, they are interviewing witnesses.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and local TV stations are showing a mugshot from 2006, in Florida, when he was locked up there for robbery.

Around 9:25 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Pierson and his 41-year-old partner Officer Depala were trying to catch the suspect on Hudson Avenue. Shots were fired, an innocent bystander, who should be okay, and the officer got shot.

Police said then the officer’s partner shot the suspect and took him into custody. Police say suspect is going to survive.

On Facebook, the Buffalo Police Department released this statement: “The Buffalo Police Department wishes to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of the Rochester Police Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the entire Rochester Police Department during this tragic time.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo released this statement Thursday: “The tragic death of Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson – an eight year veteran of the local police force and member of the Army National Guard who was shot in the line of duty last night – is deeply saddening. I join with all New Yorkers in mourning the loss of this public servant,” Governor Cuomo said. “Across the state, law enforcement personnel put their lives on the line to protect our communities every day, and today is a heartbreaking reminder of what that service can cost. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Officer Pierson, including his wife and two young children, and I urge all New Yorkers to pause and remember the dedication of the brave men and women who keep our state safe.”

It’s unknown at this time how many law enforcement officers from our area will attend the officer’s funeral, but we expect them to go show their support.

A memorial fund for the family of Daryl Pierson has been set up and donations can be made online. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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