NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — An officer was cleared of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a fugitive murder suspect who fired on police when they tried to arrest him, a prosecutor said Friday.
Gregory D. Underwood, the Commonwealth's Attorney in Norfolk, wrote in a report that the suspect, Tyre Devon Privott, fired his gun at two officers as they tried to arrest him on March 11. The fatal shooting by Officer Ryan Crowder was justified, the prosecutor said.
Underwood wrote that tests revealed gunshot residue on Privott's hands.
Investigator's reviewed Privott's cellphone, which contained a text message sent by Privott that said "I'm about to die bro I'm shooting out with police," according to the prosecutor's report.
"Such text messages are instructive as to Privott's intent at the time of the confrontation with Officer Crowder," Underwood said.
The report comes less than 24 hours after the ambush of several law enforcement officers in Dallas at a peaceful march to protest the recent spate of police-involved shootings across the country. In the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, five people have been shot and killed by police this year.
The local chapter of the NACCP had demanded an investigation of Privott's killing and others. The organization did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Privott, 25, was wanted for the killing of Chaz Hall, police said. A local judge had issued warrants for his arrest the day before he was killed.
Crowder and another officer tried to arrest Privott after they saw him walking on a street, the prosecutor's report said. Privott ignored their commands to show his hands.
"The suspect then began 'digging with his hand in his waistband' which caused the Officer Crowder to pull his service firearm after initially only having his hand on his service firearm," Underwood wrote.
Privott pulled a gun from his waistband as the officers approached and fired at them, the report said.
Crowder fired back, from 94 feet away, striking Privott. When the officers approached Privott, a .380 caliber handgun was near Privott's hand.
Crowder was not wearing a body camera. And the other officer, a trainee, had not activated his, Underwood wrote.
Underwood concluded that the shooting was "a reasonable reaction to and a direct result of the imminent danger to the lives" of the officers and the public.