SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A prosecutor says a 74-year-old man fatally shot by police after appearing to point a gun at officers was actually holding a starter pistol.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told it was unclear why DeWayne Watkins apparently pointed the starter pistol at officers Tuesday morning at his residence in Syracuse.

Police had been called to the home to back up firefighters responding to a medical call.

Fitzpatrick said the gun appeared real to the unidentified officer who fired several shots at Watkins.

Watkins was taken to a hospital before dying from his injuries.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said it was "a sad day for the community."

Walsh said one officer involved in the incident is on paid administrative leave, which is the protocol for officer-involved shootings.