Mercer deputy who shot man with toy gun found not at fault

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 30, 2017 4:41 PM

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) — Authorities have cleared of wrongdoing a West Virginia deputy who fatally shot a man wielding a toy pistol.

The man who was killed, 69-year-old Dennis Stanley, was drunk and using other substances at the time of the September shooting, Mercer County prosecutor George Sitler told the Charleston Gazette-Mail (http://bit.ly/2kM6d1q).

Deputy Adam Ballard shot and killed Stanley on Sept. 10 in the middle of West Virginia Route 71 in Montcalm.

A resident had called 911 and reported Stanley was waving the pistol around and acting erratically. Officers didn't see Stanley waving the pistol, Sitler said, but knew he had a pistol in his pocket.

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

Ballard was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting. The recording captured Ballard telling 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 will not face criminal charges and police found he violated no internal policies. The investigation is complete, and Sitler said he has no plans to present the case to the grand jury.

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

An autopsy found that Stanley's blood alcohol content was .14. He also tested positive for cocaine and oxycodone and had what police believed was marijuana in his pocket.

___

Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.