O∞cer’s killing of man is ruled legally jus­ti­fied

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY PE­TER HER­MANN pe­ter.her­mann@wash­post.com

A D.C. po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot a man dur­ing a strug­gle for a weapon in North­east Wash­ing­ton last year acted within the scope of the law, the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice for the Dis­trict has con­cluded.

“There is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to cor­rob­o­rate the of­fi­cer’s ac­count that he was act­ing in self-de­fense at the time of the shoot­ing,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from pros­e­cu­tors made pub­lic Fri­day.

Au­thor­i­ties have not pub­licly iden­ti­fied the of­fi­cer.

The shoot­ing oc­curred shortly af­ter 2 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2016, in the 5300 block of Clay Ter­race NE. Po­lice iden­ti­fied the man who was killed as Pe­ter John Jr., 36, of no fixed ad­dress.

At the time of the shoot­ing, po­lice said that an of­fi­cer tried to stop a man near 53rd Street and Clay Ter­race and shot him dur­ing a strug­gle af­ter a brief foot chase. The weapon po­lice said John had was later de­ter­mined to be a pel­let gun.

Pros­e­cu­tors pro­vided a more de­tailed ac­count Fri­day. Their state­ment said that John ran when an of­fi­cer pulled up to him in his cruiser, rolled down a win­dow and asked whether he lived nearby. Dur­ing a foot chase, pros­e­cu­tors said John fell in a park­ing lot and it was then that the of­fi­cer saw the black-col­ored weapon.

The state­ment said that the of­fi­cer was un­able to stop when John fell and ended up fall­ing on top of John and strad­dling him on the pave­ment. The of­fi­cer then ac­ti­vated his emer­gency but­ton on his ra­dio sum­mon­ing quick help.

“Mr. John strug­gled re­peat­edly to push him­self up from the ground while reach­ing un­der his body in the di­rec­tion of the gun,” the state­ment from the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice read. “As Mr. John raised up, the of­fi­cer fired one round, fa­tally wound­ing Mr. John in the neck area.”

Pros­e­cu­tors said a sur­veil­lance video did not cap­ture the shoot­ing in the dimly lit area but showed “furtive move­ments” by John. Pros­e­cu­tors also de­scribed John’s run­ning as an “un­pro­voked flight from the of­fi­cer.” The state­ment said that John’s DNA was found on the pel­let gun.

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