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911 callers feared man shot by police had gun

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the fatal New York City police shooting of a man who was brandishing the head of a welding torch (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Transcripts of 911 calls to the New York Police Department show callers were frightened that a man was menacing people with a gun but also uncertain whether the object really was a gun.

One of the 911 callers Wednesday said, “He’s pointing a silver thing in a lady’s face.” When the dispatcher asked if it was a gun, the caller said, “I don’t know if it’s a gun, ma’am. It seems like a gun. It’s silver.”

Police responding to the calls Wednesday fatally shot Saheed Vassell.

Police said the object Vassell was holding turned out to be the head of a welding torch.

The department released detailed transcripts of three 911 calls Friday.

____

8:15 a.m.

New York Police Department officials say the metal object that was mistaken for a gun in a fatal shooting by officers turned out to be the head of a welding torch.

Saheed Vassell’s father has told reporters that his son had previously worked as a welder.

Hundreds of New Yorkers have rallied in protest of the Wednesday night police shooting.

Officers were responding to 911 callers reporting a man pointing a gun at people.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH’-zee-oh) called the shooting a “tragedy” and said Vassell had “a profound mental health problem.”

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