A Pendleton, SC, police officer has been cleared in the shooting death of a man who attempted to grab the rifle from his patrol car.
Corporal John Marano can return to work after a four-month state probe into his April 3 shooting of Jose Antonio Hernandez. Eighth Circuit Solicitor David Stumbo and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division found no criminal intent on Marano’s part.
“Corporal Marano’s assertion that Mr. Hernandez reached for the rifle (mounted in Marano’s patrol vehicle) was corroborated by the presence of Mr. Hernandez’s DNA on the rifle’s magazine and trigger,” according to Stumbo’s report, issued Monday by town officials. “Toxicology reports showed the presence of Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Amphetamine, Cocaine and Methadone in Mr. Hernandez’s system.”
Stumbo’s statement and video of the incident show that Marano gave Hernandez multiple warnings before firing his weapon, the Independent Mail reports.
“The events immediately preceding the shooting are critical to this analysis: When Mr. Hernandez approached Officer Marano’s vehicle, Officer Marano backed away to create distance and to avoid a physical confrontation,” Strumbo wrote. “Officer Marano then gave clear verbal commands, ordering Mr. Hernandez to get on the ground. When Mr. Hernandez disobeyed these commands, Officer Marano deployed his Taser in an attempt to prevent Mr. Hernandez from gaining control of the marked patrol vehicle.”
The camera footage then shows that Marano fired multiple gunshots as Hernandez tried to drive away.