April 19, 2011 in City

Hillyard police shooting justified, prosecutor says

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Courtesy of Spokane Police Department photo

Cpl. Zac Storment, left, and Officer Chris Douville
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Map of this story's location

Two Spokane police officers were justified when they shot a man who was pointing a gun at another man outside a Hillyard bar last December, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.

Cpl. Zachary Storment and Officer Christopher Douville will not be charged for the shooting, which killed Jeremy Groom, 34, on Dec. 4.

Storment and Douville arrived outside the Special K Tavern, 3817 N. Market St., to see Groom pointing a gun at a man who turned out to be his best friend.

Douville ordered Groom to drop his pistol and shot him when he did not, Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release Tuesday. Reagan is the spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which led the investigation.

Storment said he didn’t believe he had time to order Groom to drop the gun. He feared Groom would shoot the other man instead of dropping the gun, so he also shot Groom, Reagan said.

Groom was a father of three and a former Marine.

His friends called police Dec. 4 after he had pointed a gun at his own head and threatened suicide.

Groom’s friend Robert J. Thompson, Jr., tried to calm him down, but Groom turned the gun on him. Thompson said he talked Groom into giving him the clip from his loaded handgun, but he refused to give him the bullet already loaded in the gun’s chamber.

Seconds later, Groom was dead from police bullets.

Several witnesses, including Thompson, reported hearing police order Groom to drop the weapon but questioned whether he was given enough time to comply.

In a decision announced by the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll said, “Under these circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude the use of deadly force was justified as Mr. Groom posed a threat of serious physical harm.”

Groom was licensed to carry a concealed handgun. State law prohibits guns inside bars; friends say Groom kept the gun in the center console of his car and didn’t access it until he was outside.


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