Prosecutor: No charges to be filed in fatal police shooting

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2015 6:39 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — No charges will be filed against two Richmond police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a black man, in part because six eyewitnesses corroborated the officers' accounts of what happened, the city's chief prosecutor said Thursday.

Keshawn Hargrove, 20, was killed in a shootout with Richmond officers Ryan Bailey and Jacob DeBoard on Aug. 6. Bailey was shot in the arm and wounded.

Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring said based on results of an investigation, the officers approached Hargrove after receiving a report about an armed man, Hargrove fired first and fled.

"The officers were returning fire while Mr. Hargrove continued to fire," Herring said.

The investigation determined that Hargrove fired at least four shots from a 9mm handgun that was recovered less than 10 feet from his body. Police fired 14 shots, but only one hit Hargrove.

Nancy Bull, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Medical Examiner's Office, said an autopsy determined that Hargrove died of a gunshot wound in the back.

Herring said DeBoard fired the fatal shot. DeBoard is white; Bailey is black.

Shortly after the shooting, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham was confronted at the scene by an angry crowd of neighbors who demanded to know whether police followed proper procedures. At a news conference the next day, Durham insisted that Richmond's first fatal police shooting since 2010 was not a racially charged shootout as some in the community were suggesting.

"This is not Ferguson," he said at the time, referring to the fatal shooting of an unarmed black many by a white officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri, that sparked protests and nationwide scrutiny of police officers' treatment of blacks.

Durham said Thursday that Herring's decision was based on a fair and impartial review, and that he always encourages communities to let investigations take their course before reaching any conclusions when the use of police force comes into question.

"Regardless of today's decision, my officers and the family members of Hargrove will be forever impacted by the events that took place on the day of the shooting," Durham said in a statement.

Court documents show Hargrove had a long criminal record, including a 2010 malicious wounding conviction. As a convicted felon, he was legally barred from possessing firearms. Herring said he did not know where Hargrove obtained the gun.

A working phone number for Hargrove's family could not be located.