Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McCulloch Rules July 5 Shooting by Pine Lawn Police Was Justified

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McCulloch Rules July 5 Shooting by Pine Lawn Police Was Justified

Article excerpt

The fatal shooting of an unarmed man on July 5 by a Pine Lawn police officer appeared to be justified and "not excessive under the circumstances," according to a review by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch.

The shooting, involving a black man shot by a white police officer, happened one month before the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, by a white police officer in Ferguson. The Brown shooting has led to continuing protests and a grand jury investigation.

In this case, Christopher Maurice Jones, 30, of Bel-Ridge, died from a single gunshot wound to the rear of his right arm; an autopsy determined that the bullet entered his chest cavity and struck his heart, according to a four-page synopsis of the evidence in the case written by an attorney in McCulloch's office.

The medical examiner's office had previously denied requests for the autopsy report, saying the case was still under investigation. The office did not respond to an email follow-up Monday.

The synopsis said Jones fled a traffic stop by a Pine Lawn police officer on westbound Interstate 70 at Bermuda Drive about 1:54 a.m. With Officer Nicholas Stone in pursuit, he drove as fast as 114 mph before crashing on the exit ramp to southbound Interstate 170, then got out and continued running down the ramp.

Looking inside the wrecked car, Stone saw an empty holster in the center console, the synopsis said. Stone then chased Jones on foot. Jones resisted several attempts by Stone to put him in handcuffs, including three discharges from a Taser.

Jones, who stood 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 240 pounds, "was substantially larger in frame and stature than Stone," the synopsis said. Stone said Jones swung his arm backward, striking Stone in the chest, and threatened to kill him. Jones reached into his waistband with his right hand and raised his shirt with his left. Stone drew his weapon and yelled, "Show me your hands," at least three times, the synopsis said.

"The suspect continued to bring his arm backward to the officer's location," the synopsis said. Stone, believing Jones had drawn a firearm, "discharged his weapon one time, striking Jones in the outside portion of the right arm," the synopsis said. …

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