Seven months after the shooting of an unarmed Lake Havasu City man by police, an independent review by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office has ruled the shooting to be justified.
According to the Lake Havasu City Police Department, 29-year-old Jon S. Douglas was wanted under multiple felony warrants when he was reportedly seen at a Kiowa Boulevard shopping center. Officers allegedly recognized Douglas and attempted to speak with him. According to police, Douglas ran into Hobby Lobby, and officers pursued him into the store.
Body camera footage from the incident showed officers shouting for Douglas to “drop it” as the chase began. That footage showed Douglas dropping what appeared to be a mobile phone in one of the aisles as he was intercepted by officers.
Police say that Douglas struggled with an arresting officer, identified as Sgt. Brian Jacobs. According to investigators, Jacobs shot the alleged suspect shortly after the struggle began, and Douglas fell to the floor. Both officers placed Douglas in handcuffs before calling paramedics and supporting officers to the scene.
In the body camera footage, Jacobs could be heard to say, “I thought he was going for a gun.”
Douglas was transported to Havasu Regional Medical Center for emergency treatment, and investigators later said he was unarmed at the time of the incident.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office was tasked with investigating the incident in December, and forwarded their findings earlier this year to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office for independent analysis. That review ended this week, and Yavapai prosecutors say it may have been Douglas’ own actions that resulted in the shooting.
According to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, there was no evidence to suggest wrongdoing by the officers involved in Douglas’ shooting.
“(Douglas)’ consumption of heroin and his possession of a quantity of illegal heroin at the time of the incident played a role in the poor decisions he made that day,” said Yavapai County officials this week. “By acting as he did in that situation, Douglas placed Jacobs in fear of his fellow officer or himself being seriously injured or killed if he did not act with timely and appropriate force.”
No criminal charges were brought against Douglas in connection to the Dec. 10 shooting incident, but court records show he was awaiting trial in two prior cases of unlawful flight from law enforcement – both of which allegedly occurred last year.
In one of those cases, Douglas is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 10.
As of Thursday, Douglas remained free from custody on $5,000 bond.