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‘Suicide by cop’ probable cause in shooting

Roger Raymond York Jr. told Clinton Police officers he had a gun.

York was heard by witnesses and the officers who were trying to arrest him that “they would have to kill him,” that he wasn’t going back to prison.

District Attorney General Dave Clark released the findings of an investigation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and his own conclusions of the investigation Monday.

The findings read the officer who shot York was “authorized to use deadly force” after York brandished a weapon and fired a shot.

On Nov. 8, 2017, three Clinton Police officers were on the scene of the shooting death of York at 1000 East Drive in the city.

Officers Sgt. Brandon Floyd, Sgt. Mike Jones, and K9 Handler Officer Matt Howell, had to gone to the residence to arrest York on a violation of probation order from Hardeman County.

Floyd and Jones attempted to arrest York in the house, York was found in a bathtub in a bathroom fully clothed.

After refusing “verbal commands” York locked himself in the bathroom and told officers he was armed and that officers “would have to kill him.”

Howell and his K9 forced their way into the bathroom where York was trying to escape out a window. Officers Jones and Howell and his K9 left the house and attempted to arrest York outside the house. Howell’s K9 grabbed York and drug him to the ground where York continued to struggle.

While Jones and Howell attempted to put handcuffs on York, who was “actively resisting,” York was able to push himself up to into “an almost kneeling position.”

Officers repeatedly yelled at York to show his hands to drop his weapon.

York continued to tell officers they would “have to shoot him.”

With Jones and Howell struggling to detain York he was able to discharge his gun.

York, who was holding an automatic weapon, had the gun between himself and the ground.

The bullet casing, however, did not eject from weapon — it was never determined what made the casing stick in the pistol — but it did not allow th egun to “clear.”

The TBI investigation points out a couple of resasons the casing might not have ejected: Clothing may have gotten in the way of the, or possible even the ground iyself.

When TBI investigators examined the weapon the bullet casing was still in the gun.

After York’s gun discharged Sgt, Floyd, who had been covering the officers trying to detain York, if they had control of York.

They responded they did not.

Floyd then yelled, “Clear,” Clark’s memo states, and then fired two shots, killing York.

Immediately after the shooring Clinton Chief of Police Rick Scarbrough contacted Clark and informed him about what had happened.

Both Clark and Scarbrough agreed that the shooting should be investigated by the TBI.

Clark noted the schooting scene was secured to protect evidence and witnesses were separated until the TBI arrived.

In its findings the TBI noted that witnesses accounts varied on the number of shots heard — either two or three — when three shots were accounted for.

The discrepency was noted but it was pointed out the shots were in rapid succession and the possibility that York’s shot was muffled because of his position was also possible.

York’s gun, however, was fired and York had gunshot residue on his hands.

During his conclusion Clark said the evidence was consistent and reliable.

The report also says that while the officers were involved had “a general awareness” of York and prior record of violence, they had “no animosity” towards him.

Clinton Police Officers, Clark wrote, were entitled to use deadly force.