DA anticipates to decide on submitting case to grand jury at close of state police investigation

The governor and attorney general are not planning to conduct an independent investigation at this time into the Oct. 4 shooting death of Sandy Guardiola.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman referred to the governor's 2015 Executive Order regarding appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute matters relating to the deaths of civilians caused by law enforcement officers, saying it “only applies” to cases in which an unarmed civilian is killed by a police officer, so the attorney general could not just decide to investigate the Guardiola matter.

“In this case, the decedent was clearly armed,” said Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo, who noted he spoke to an assistant attorney general a couple of days after the shooting and it was determined the attorney general's office did not have jurisdiction.

“This local matter is being investigated by an outside law enforcement agency, and we are closely monitoring it,” said Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

He was referring to the New York State Police, whom Canandaigua City Police Chief Stephen Hedworth called in to handle the investigation, immediately after the shooting.

“There was an outside investigation,” said Tantillo. “The Canandaigua Police Department immediately asked an independent law enforcement agency to conduct an investigation, and the New York State Police did so.

“The New York State Police is very close to having finished their investigation. I expect to receive their completed investigation in the near future. At that time, I will make a determination as to whether to submit the investigation to a grand jury, but I anticipate that will take place. I'll make that final decision when I receive the full investigation.”

Guardiola, an off-duty parole officer living at Pinnacle North Apartments, was shot three times by Canandaigua Police Sgt. Scott Kadien, after police say she fired a round at him.

Police had been called to the apartment to check on Guardiola's well-being after a fellow parole officer became concerned because she had not shown up for work that morning, as scheduled, after recuperating from injuries suffered in a Southern Tier car accident a month earlier.

According to state police — in information dispensed at a series of news conferences — Kadien, in full police uniform, entered the apartment, knocked on the bedroom door and went in where police said Guardiola was semi-responsive, raised her duty weapon and shot at Kadien but missed.

Troopers said Kadien told her not to pick up the weapon again and when she did, fearing for his life, shot her, striking her three times. She was later pronounced dead at UR Medicine Thompson Health.

Members of Guardiola's family, joined Saturday by the Rev. Al Sharpton at his National Action Network's Hall of Justice in Harlem, called on Cuomo and Schneiderman to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the case. They believe there is more to the story and question its objectivity since Kadien is also an assistant district attorney, albeit part-time in Wayne County.

An attorney for the family could not be reached Monday or Tuesday.

A Friday release from the New York City law firm of Beldock, Levine & Hoffman LLP says Guardiola, a 48-year-old Puerto Rican mother of two who twice survived breast cancer, was sleeping in her bedroom when a Canandaigua police officer entered her home, "ostensibly on a 'welfare check'" requested by her employer. She was a 20-year veteran law enforcement at the time she was shot, spending the last two-plus years with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, most recently assigned to the Western Region of New York.

Tantillo said Kadien has never worked for the Ontario County District Attorney's Office, but acknowledged he could have been one of many interns who served the office over the years.