ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WYFF) – A South Carolina police officer has been cleared of wrongdoing in the April shooting death of a suspect.
Newly released body camera footage shows an underwear-clad stealing a police officer’s patrol vehicle just before the fatal encounter.
Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo released his final report on the shooting Tuesday and said the Pendleton Police Department officer “fired his service weapon into the vehicle to defuse a lethal threat to both himself and the public.”
The officer was responding to a domestic violence call on April 3rd when he was flagged down by a woman who said a man in his underwear had chased her while she was jogging.
That man, later identified as 46-year-old Jose Antonio Hernandez, came toward the officer. The officer got out of his patrol car and gave Hernandez verbal commands but the commands were ignored.
Stumbo says the officer tased Hernandez to prevent him from taking the patrol car. He says Hernandez got into the patrol car and twice tried to get the patrol rifle between the driver and passenger seat.
At that time, the officer fired his gun, Stumbo said.
Coroner Greg Shore said Hernandez was shot four times. He said the fatal wound was to the neck.
Stumbo said, based on the evidence, there was no criminal intent on the part the officer.
Toxicology reports showed the presence of marijuana, methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine, and methadone in Hernandez’s system, Stumbo said.
Following the opinion of Stumbo and the closing of the investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the officer will be returning to active duty with the Pendleton Police Department.