SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Virginia police officer was justified in fatally shooting a man armed with a BB gun that looked like a handgun, according to a state prosecutor.
Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson released a report Thursday, saying an investigation showed Officer James Babor’s use of deadly force against 28-year-old Corey Achstein was reasonable based on several factors, media outlets reported.
“In short, based on all the facts, evidence, and established law, I find that Officer (James) Babor’s use of deadly force was justified and does not constitute criminal misconduct,” Ferguson wrote. “Therefore, this office declines to prosecute any charges against Officer Babor.”
Babor and Officer Cheryl Abrigo encountered Achstein on Dec. 28 after responding to reports of a man chasing three juveniles and threatening them with a gun.
Babor warned Achstein six times to comply before firing, Ferguson said. Achstein, who was white, reached for his waist, twisting toward Abrigo and Babor, who thought Achstein was reaching for a weapon. Babor fired one shot, striking Achstein in the back. He later died at a hospital.
Police found a metallic pellet gun at the scene.
“It was a replica of a handgun, with no indication that it was not a real firearm,” Ferguson wrote.
Babor and Officer Cheryl Abrigo remain on administrative assignment while the police department finishes an administrative investigation, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.
Suffolk Police released the body camera video Thursday, which shows the moments leading up to the shooting and when the fatal shot was fired.
“The Suffolk Police Department would like to express their deepest sympathies to the family of Corey Jason Achstein,” Klink wrote in a statement.
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