Police ID kilt-clad man accused of attacking Virginia officer with ax

In this Tuesday, July 25, 2017 image provided by Kevin Barber, a man dressed in a kilt carries...
In this Tuesday, July 25, 2017 image provided by Kevin Barber, a man dressed in a kilt carries an ax and a long knife in downtown Richmond, Va. Officers fatally shot the man making threats as he walked around the state capital, police and witnesses said. Police did not immediately identify the man.(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 25, 2017 at 6:27 PM EDT
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UPDATE (July 26):

Authorities have identified a Virginia man who police killed after officials say the shirtless, kilt-wearing man attacked an officer with a small ax.

Richmond police identified the man Wednesday as 23-year-old Alexander J. Schoessel of Chester.

Police and witnesses say that before he was shot, Schoessel had been walking around downtown with an ax and a long knife, wearing nothing but a kilt and combat-style boots.

Police say officers tried to get the man to drop his weapons, but he wouldn't comply and instead attacked police, prompting Officers Nicholas Pechstein and Joshua Sanborn to fire their weapons.

Authorities say Officer John Rotondi was caught in the line of fire, as a bullet hit his protective vest. Rotondi has been released from the hospital.


Officers fatally shot a man who was making threats as he walked around Virginia's capital city with an ax and a long knife, wearing nothing but a kilt and combat-style boots, police and witnesses said.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham told reporters that his officers encountered the man after receiving complaints from several locations around town Tuesday morning.

He was spotted along the Richmond Canal Walk first, and then police began getting calls about a man on Tredegar Street carrying what appeared to be a knife or ax.

About 10 minutes later, construction workers at 5th and Tredegar streets called police to report the man threatened them.

Around 9:50 a.m., people around 5th and Cary Streets called police to report the man.

At 10:05 a.m., police encountered the man at 3rd and Main Streets.

The chief said they tried to get him to drop his weapons, using "de-escalation techniques" and deploying a Taser, but he wouldn't comply.

The police chief said his officers then shot the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Durham said one officer was hit in what appears to be friendly fire, but his body armor prevented serious injury.

The shooting happened just outside the 3rd Street Diner, where bartender Taryn Kelly was working.

"The first thing I saw was a bunch of police approaching with their service weapons drawn," she said. Kelly said she saw around 10 officers.

She said the man, whom police did not immediately identify, was white and appeared to be in his 30s with a red beard. He was acting erratically, kicking his legs in the air and waving the weapons at one officer in particular, she said.

"Then everyone shot him, and he died immediately," Kelly said.

Kelly said she could hear the officers giving the man orders and could see them trying to de-escalate the situation.

"It definitely wasn't a police brutality thing," Kelly said. "I knew what was going to happen when I saw him attacking them, basically."

Police said in a statement that detectives have interviewed the officers involved and several eyewitnesses, and will review body camera videos. The officers involved are on administrative leave, Durham said, and he'll release their names once he's "assured there is no threat of retaliation against them."