Man shot, paralyzed by Northern California officer dies

AP News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2015 7:53 PM
Man shot, paralyzed by Northern California officer dies

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A man captured on video being shot by a Northern California police officer following a high-speed chase and crash has died, authorities said Monday.

Andrew Thomas died at a hospital Saturday, nearly a month after police at the crash scene initially dismissed his claim that he was shot by an officer.

The shooting, which was captured by a patrol car's dash-cam video, prompted protests in Paradise, 90 miles north of Sacramento.

Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster has said he accidentally shot the driver, who was paralyzed by a wound to the neck.

Prosecutors said there was no basis for charging Feaster, who remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

The Nov. 25 shooting happened after Thomas, 26, a suspected drunken driver, sped away from a bar with no headlights, nearly hitting people in its parking lot before the crash, investigators said. Thomas' estranged wife, Darien Ehorn, 23, was thrown from the vehicle and died.

Video from the patrol car shows Feaster shooting Thomas as Thomas climbs out of his overturned SUV. Thomas then slumps back into the vehicle.

That footage and video from body cameras worn by two other officers show Thomas twice telling officers he had been shot. They also show Feaster didn't tell his commanding officer for 11 minutes that he fired his gun.

"I don't think I shot him," Feaster tells his commander. "But the gun did go off."

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey had said the evidence showed the shooting was unintentional.

Ramsey told the Paradise Post on Saturday after Thomas' death that he planned to reevaluate the case.

Feaster's attorney, Brett Sherman, declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday.