Troubled Iraq veteran in NJ goaded cops before he was shot to death
MILLVILLE — State authorities have released body camera footage and 911 call recordings from a deadly incident this month, in which an Iraq war veteran was outside his home with a knife as police arrived. A shot was eventually fired, killing him.
Daniel Ackley, 33, of Millville, was shot on Jan. 4 around 9:30 p.m. after two emergency calls were placed by a relative asking for help at the home on Burns Road.
In the first call, a woman describing the situation says Ackley has a history of getting angry and uncontrollable and he doesn’t really know why — to which the dispatcher asks if he needs the police or an ambulance to take him to a facility. The woman agrees.
Ackley was a lifelong Millville resident and graduate of Millville Senior High School, after which he served in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War, according to his obituary.
A second call is then made, saying that Ackley has now gone outside and is holding a knife.
Responding officers found Ackley holding what the caller said was a kitchen knife, which police described as a machete.
As seen in body camera footage, Ackley is wearing plaid pajama pants and slippers as he walks down a ramp and into the street, holding the knife above his head with one hand as officers ask him to drop it.
“Or you’ll do what,” he yells, multiple times, before adding he’s been to Iraq.
He continues to walk toward the officers, as one says “I don’t want to shoot you,” to which Ackley, who is white, says "Why don't you" and then “what, am I not Black enough to be shot?”
They continue to tell him to drop the knife as he walks toward them.
Within 15 seconds, one of the officers fires his service weapon and Ackley stumbles to the ground, apparently struck by a bullet and stays seated, raising his now empty hands.
Officers surround him and handcuff him while telling him to “keep breathing” and asking his name.
First aid was given to Ackley and he was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 11 p.m.
The family has declined to speak with any media, according to the funeral home where his services were held this month.
The shooting is under review by the Office of the Attorney General, as required by state law for any death that happens during a law enforcement interaction.
Hotline for veteran help
Since the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, call volume to the national Vets4Warriors helpline — based in New Jersey — has increased by 18%.
New individuals reaching out to the peer support network in fiscal year 2021 also spiked by more than 50%, over the year prior.
Vets4Warriors, based at the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care National Call Center, is staffed by veterans and supported by licensed clinicians.
Every call to 855-838-8255 is answered within 30 seconds.
With previous reporting by Dino Flammia