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Ex-BART Officer Suprised Mehserle Used Sidearm

June 21, 2010  | 

Tony Pirone, one of three former BART officers fired over the Oscar Grant shooting, testified he was surprised his former colleague Johannes Mehserle fired his handgun at the 22-year-old, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Pirone was the first officer to arrive at the scene early Jan. 1, 2009 at the Fruitville Station platform. Witnesses have said Prione's aggressive attitude and foul language may have escalated the situation.

Testifying Friday in the second-degree murder trial of Mehserle, Pirone said he was surprised when Mehserle asked him to get back, because he had a knee on the back of the face-down Grant who was "wiggling."

After Mehserle fired the shot that killed Grant, Pirone said he thought the officer's TASER had malfunctioned. Pirone testified his colleague spoke to him after the shooting. "He said, 'Tony, I thought he was going for a gun,'" Pirone said. "I said, 'Yeah, OK, man.'"

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