Trooper cleared in shoot­ing of rob­bery sus­pect from Colora



— A Delaware State Po­lice Trooper who shot an al­leged rob­ber from Ce­cil County last De­cem­ber was jus­ti­fied in his ac­tions, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased this week.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the facts and cir­cum­stances fully sup­port the rea­son­able­ness of Tpr. [Pierre] Lawler’s be­lief that his life was in dan­ger,” the re­port, is­sued by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matt Denn’s of­fice, reads. “That be­lief was not formed reck­lessly or neg­li­gently. As a re­sult, the use of deadly force by the Trooper was jus­ti­fied and is not sub­ject to crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.”

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at ap­prox­i­mately 10:30 p.m.


Dec. 17 as Lawler re­sponded to a call for a home in­va­sion in the 300 block of Salem Church Road near Newark, Del. Upon ar­rival, Lawler ap­proached the home, where he saw bro­ken glass and a door that had been forced open.

Lawler en­tered through the open door and saw the vic­tims ly­ing face down in the liv­ing room. One of the sus­pects, James McCardell, 39, of Colora, emerged hold­ing a hand­gun and moved quickly to­ward Lawler, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Lawler fired one round and struck McCardell in the ab­domen. The sec­ond sus­pect, Brian Richard­son, of Philadelphia, com­plied with Lawler’s com­mands and laid down on the floor. Lawler held the two sus­pects at gun­point un­til more of­fi­cers ar­rived.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors later re­cov­ered McCardell’s 9mm hand­gun loaded with eight rounds, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

McCardell re­cov­ered from his wounds and he and Richard­son were both charged with at­tempted rob­bery, home in­va­sion, ag­gra­vated men­ac­ing, con­spir­acy, pos­ses­sion of a firearm, wear­ing a dis­guise and en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of a child.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s re­port noted that un­der Delaware law, whether a po­li­cein­volved shoot­ing is jus­ti­fied largely de­pends on whether the of­fi­cer felt his or her life was threat­ened.

“The spe­cific fac­tual is­sue is whether the of­fi­cer ac­tu­ally be­lieved at the time that he in­ten­tion­ally fired his weapon that such ac­tion was nec­es­sary to pro­tect him­self or oth­ers from death or se­ri­ous phys­i­cal in­jury, so long as the of­fi­cer was not reck­less or neg­li­gent in hav­ing such be­lief or in ac­quir­ing or fail­ing to ac­quire any knowl­edge or be­lief which is ma­te­rial to the jus­ti­fi­a­bil­ity of the use of force,” the re­port reads.

“Tpr. Lawler was con­fronted with a sub­ject mov­ing quickly in his di­rec­tion point­ing a hand­gun at his head at the scene of an in­progress home in­va­sion,” the re­port con­tin­ues. “He fired his hand­gun with the in­ten­tion of elim­i­nat­ing the threat pre­sented and when that ap­pli­ca­tion of force was ef­fec­tive, he ceased his use of force.”

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