A Portsmouth,VA, police officer facing two felony charges for shooting an armed suspect running from the scene of a burglary has been denied a request for a bench trial.
Officer Jeremy Durocher will now have to face a jury.
The trial is set to start June 13 in Portsmouth Circuit Court and last two days, but will probably need to be rescheduled or at least extended to accommodate jury selection.
Durocher was indicted last month on one count each of aggravated malicious wounding and illegal use of a firearm. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison, the Pilot reports.
The charges stem from an Oct 29, 2017, incident, in which Durocher shot 18-year-old Deontrace Ward in the back and arm as the teen ran from a burglary.
In a video recorded by Durocher's department-issued body camera, the officer yells, “He has a gun!” when he first sees Ward running from the home and later tells fellow officers the teen “waved” the gun at him. Police found a gun, but it was inside the bottom of Ward's right pant leg.
Ward, who denies pulling his weapon, pleaded guilty in June to breaking into the home, stealing some jewelry and illegally possessing a firearm. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
The department named Durocher officer of the month and gave him a medal of valor for his “heroic” efforts the day of the shooting.