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Commonwealth's Attorney: 2 Danville officers justified in deadly shooting

New video, 911 calls released at Monday news conference

DANVILLE, Va.UPDATE

For the first time Monday, new evidence that led up to a fatal police shooting in Danville in April was revealed to the media. 

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Danville commonwealth's attorney Michael Newman announced that the two officers involved were justified in their use of deadly force and will not face charges. 

Newman hoped that the gas station surveillance video showing 25-year-old Juan Jones assaulting his girlfriend, Shantaria Plunkett, home surveillance video showing Jones trying to kick in the door to Plunkett's home, and 911 calls from Plunkett will help fill in the gaps for people questioning why the shooting happened.

"Now, some other blanks are filled in reference to what led up to it, in reference to the action, as to why the officers were called there to begin with," Newman said.

Officers responded to Plunkett's home around 1:30 a.m. on April 8 after she went to her home after being assaulted at the nearby Sunrise gas station.

Officers were trying to arrest Jones for the assault when he was shot.

"It's a tragedy. It's unfortunate," Newman said. "The last thing the officers went there to do is harm someone. They're there to serve and protect. Unfortunately,  the circumstances were presented to them in such a way that this was the conclusion."

Newman also revealed that Jones had a blood alcohol content of .10 when he was shot by officers Christopher Simpkins and David Branch.

Five shots were fired, according to Newman, two of them hitting Jones.

Ballistics testing did not determine which officer fired the fatal shot.

Body cam video released by Danville Police just days after the shooting shows officers telling Jones to show his hands after he drove his car into a wooded area.

When officers first arrived on scene a few minutes earlier, the home surveillance video shows Jones walking away from Plunkett's home and eventually getting into his car.

Officers examine Plunkett for injuries consistent with her claim that she was assaulted.

They see marks on her neck and decide to try to arrest Jones for the assault.

"As the state law is, if you're called to a domestic situation, if an officer's called to a domestic situation, sees signs of injury from an aggressor, they shall make an arrest is how it's worded," Newman said, explaining why officers had to arrest Jones.

Officers loudly order Jones multiple times to get out of his car, but he refuses so officers decide to just "wait him out."

But while they're waiting for Jones to get out, he backs down the road into a cul-de-sac and drives into the wooded area.

Jones gets out of the car and officers loudly order him multiple times to show his hands.

He does not comply.

One officer attempts to tase Jones, but one of the taser prongs gets caught in the brush in the wooded area Jones drove into.

A few seconds after the taser is fired, Jones quickly turns towards officers, making a motion as if he's going to raise a gun.

That's when he is shot.

"The officers did, really, almost by the book as to what they were supposed to do to try to keep people down, to try to calm people, try to get him out of the car, try to wait him out. They gave him very clear instructions in reference to 'Let me see your hands,' 'Get out.' They did not go immediately to deadly force," Newman said.

This is the second officer-involved shooting of the year.

In January, officer Justin Nelson shot and killed Richard Towler after Towler came out of a home on Old Halifax Road and shot at officers who responded to the home for a report of shots fired.

Inside the home, 38 year-old Crystal Averett was found dead.

On Monday, 10 News reached out to Jones' mother for comment but was told she was not available.

Danville's police chief was not at Monday's news conference. 10 News reached out to him afterwards, but he was not available.

ORIGINAL STORY

Danville police are holding a news conference Monday to address a fatal officer-involved shooting that happened April 8. 

Juan Markee Jones, 25, died at Sovah Health after being shot by Danville police officers, according to the police department.

According to police, officers had been trying to arrest Jones for assaulting a woman a short time earlier. Officers tried to use a Taser, but it was ineffective. 

DANVILLE POLICE RELEASE BODY CAM FOOTAGE OF OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING

Jones is seen on body cam footage turning toward the officers and making what appears to be a motion with his hands as if he's raising a gun.

That's when he was shot.

The news conference is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. WSLS plans to livestream the event on Facebook. 


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