Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Police Clear Deputy Who Shot Man with Toy Gun

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Police Clear Deputy Who Shot Man with Toy Gun

Article excerpt

Police have completed an investigation into the September shooting of a man wielding a toy pistol and found the Mercer County deputy who shot him acted appropriately, according to the county prosecutor. George Sitler, the Mercer County prosecutor, also released last week that the man killed, 69-year-old Dennis Stanley, was drunk and using other substances at the time of the shooting and had been "having some problems and become withdrawn from family before the shooting.

Stanley, of Bluefield, was shot and killed in the middle of W.Va. 71 in Montcalm on Sept. 10.

"The initial 911 call indicated that he had been waving the pistol around, Sitler said. "Officers didn't see him waving a pistol around but knew that he had a pistol in his pocket.

"From a short distance away, it looked like a real gun in his pocket, he said.

People who were traveling on the same road told police that Stanley poured a bottle of liquor on his vehicle, according to Sitler. "According to the witnesses, he had dogs with him, he said. "He had thrown the dogs. He was behaving erratically and he had been swerving in the middle of the road before he stopped.

Deputy Adam Ballard was wearing a body camera that was recording even during the drive to the call, Sitler said.

"The body-cam video records the responding deputy loudly commanding Mr. Stanley to put his hands in the air more than a dozen times before the fatal shot was fired, Sitler said.

Ballard is still employed by the sheriff's department. He did not face criminal charges and police found he violated no internal policies. Sitler said the investigation is complete and he has no plans to present the case to the grand jury.

"Deputy Adam Ballard's actions were restrained, careful and professional, he said. "I have personally commended him for his conduct, although the outcome was regrettable.

Bystanders, but not the officer, said they saw Stanley reaching for the pistol, Sitler said. …

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