York County DA rules police shooting justifiable

Written by Rick Lee/York Daily Record | Mar 16, 2016 1:07 PM

Photo by WGAL Channel 8, via York Daily Record

FILE PHOTO: Dequan Williams of York was shot and killed by York City Police after they told him to put down a knife he was holding and he refused, police said.

(York) -- York County District Attorney Tom Kearney has determined that the police shooting of De'Quan Lynn Williams was justifiable homicide.

Kearney's decision was announced in a media release tthis morning.

Williams, 28, was shot and killed by two York City Police officers on Oct. 17, 2015, after he reportedly threw a knife at the officers and then charged at them.

Police had been summoned to 1066 Kelly Drive in York when Williams' mother, Jacqueline Michel Larry, called 911 to have her son involuntarily committed for mental health issues. Larry later told investigators her son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was not taking his medications and had become combative.

Officer  Stephen Aderhold and Officer Jeremy Mayer were dispatched and found Williams outside the Kelly Drive residence. According to Kearney's media release, Williams refused to comply with the officers' orders to get on the ground. One officer deployed a Taser at Williams and when the man still refused to comply and moved toward the officers, both officers fired.

Williams was shot in the right shoulder and chest. Bullets struck his heart, liver and diaphragm, according to autopsy findings.

The police-involved shooting was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police at the request of Kearney and the York City Police department.

Kearney reached his conclusion of justifiable homicide after reviewing the state police report, which included statements from Larry, her boyfriend, Williams' grandmother and several eyewitnesses.

Aderhold and Mayer declined to be interviewed by state police on the advice of their union attorney.

In his official conclusion, Kearney stated, "Accordingly, the Office of the District Attorney finds insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution in this matter where the officers fired their service weapons in response to Mr. William's charging the officers from a distance of only a few feet immediately after throwing a knife at them.

"The cause of death is determined to be multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. The manner of death is determined to be justifiable homicide. The matter is now closed."

*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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