A standing Grand Jury in Charles County has decided the March 18 shooting and killing of Jonathan Lyles by Deputy Clint Walter was a justified event.
Charles County State’s Attorney Leonard Collins and Sheriff Fred Davis held a press conference Tuesday to announce the findings of the Grand Jury and the results of the autopsy and ballistic tests conducted after the shooting.
Based on the evidence presented to the Grand Jury of 23 citizens already in place before the shooting occurred, the officer acted according to training when he fired at Lyles, who had already fired one shot from a concealed 9mm handgun and was bringing the gun level for another shot while an officer struggled with him.
The Grand Jury is a randomly selected body of citizens that considers evidence in cases to determine if an indictment is justified. The group is selected twice a year and serves for six months.
Collins and Davis answered questions from a small group of print and television reporters late Tuesday morning, clarifying any left over questions raised at a community meeting held last week where friends and family of the slain man expressed outrage over the officer’s action. See that earlier story here.
“The criminal justice system is here to seek justice, that doesn’t always mean that your going to satisfy the family members of someone who has died in a shooting,” Collins said in response to a reporter’s question.
According to an autopsy report from the state medical examiner’s office, Lyles, who was larger than each of the three officers attempting to subdue him at 6’1’’ and 262 pounds, was struck by only 2 bullets.
One bullet was fired from a handgun concealed in his inside jacket pocket, which traveled through his jacket and struck his hand. The second shot was fired by officer Walters and struck Lyles in the front of his chest adjacent to his collar bone.
Lyles was carrying a compact semi-automatic 9mm Accutech, with the serial numbers “obliterated”, Collins said. Charles County officers carry a .40 caliber handgun, with a bullet larger than 9mm.
The bullet that struck Lyles’ chest tore two major arteries, which caused massive internal bleeding that killed him within minutes, Collins reported. Ballistics tests also showed the two wounds were not caused by the same bullet. Also, Lyles had other injuries that indicated a struggle with officers.
According to the toxicology report from the medical examiner’s investigation, Lyles had present in his urine Methamphetamine and ecstasy. Found in his blood was a high level of dextromethorphan, a chemical found in cough medicine. Collins said the level of dextromethorphan was inconsist