Officers ruled justified in shooting death of 19-year-old suspect
CHICO, Calif. - Five Chico police officers have been ruled justified in shooting and killing a 19-year-old suspect at the end of a pursuit.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey explained the shooting and the chase that led up to it step-by-step on Thursday. Ramsey said the officers feared for their lives, and used advanced technology to explain how. "They saw the white backup lights come on suddenly come on and start back towards him," said Ramsey, referring to the first officer who fired - Sergeant Scott Zuschin.
Ramsey says Zuschin was in the so-called "kill box" meaning he had nowhere to go. "To his right was a landscape mound and shrubbery so he could not go to his right. To his left, was Officer Marshall's pursuing vehicle that had come up to that area at the time," said Ramsey. "He fired his weapon at the back head rest of the car to disable the driver that he was in fear of coming back and running over him." Zuschin hit Sharpe in the head behind her right ear. Sharpe's car then made a U-Turn and headed towards other officers. That's when they opened fire, and it was all over. "They began immediate medical live saving proceedings including CPR," said Ramsey. Sharpe suffered two gunshot wounds - and died on the way to the hospital. Family friends who were there for Thursday's ruling - aren't buying it. "If somebody was going to hit me with a car I would have jumped into the shrubbery out of the way of harm. For him to actually fire at her head was uncalled for," said Sarah Hall. Hall says she's known Breanne Sharpe since she was a little girl, and believes Chico police could have done a better job. "For her to be killed and not get the chance to maybe recover or change her life at such a young age is just a tragedy. It's disgusting," said Sharpe. Chico police Chief Kirk Trostle says that he stands 100% behind his officers and the "tough" choice they had to make.
All five officers have been cleared to come back on the force and they will return this weekend.