Crime Trackers

Jun 6, 2014 10:20 PM by Lupita Murillo

SVPD Officer Justin Dannels cleared of any wrong doing

TUCSON - A Sierra Vista Police officer has been cleared of any wrong doing surrounding the officer involved shooting of Lauro Avechuco last April.

The Pima County Attorney's Office released its findings today. The decision was based on reports from the Sierra Vista Police Department, Cochise County Sheriff's Department, and the FBI.

Justin Dannels,24, has been with the Sierra Vista Department for two years. Kellie Johnson, Pima County's Chief Criminal Deputy stated in her formal opinion, "Officer Dannels reasonably believed he was in immediate danger of serious physical injury or death when Mr. Avechuco drove straight toward him."

Adam Thrasher, Deputy Chief of Police tells News 4 Tucson, they were confident Dannels would be cleared, and that Dannels is back on duty and glad to be working.

Sierra Vista residents have mixed reactions about the decision. John Cruz believes, if an officers feels his life is threatened he should do what he's trained to do to protect himself.

Yamir Sylvain, who lives a block from where the shooting occurred and heard all the commotion has questions. He wants to know why the officer fired 10 times, and the fatal shot came from behind.

Deputy Chief Thrasher says, the initial shots were directed to the front of the car, and the fatal bullet hit Avechuco in the back of the head on his left side. He adds they believe that happened when Avechuco ducked as the initial shots were fired off.

News 4 has requested interviews with Dannels, but he declined. The City Clerk will be releasing report on the investigation by next week.


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