Two Westlake police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Devan Desnoyers Oct. 10 were legally justified in their use of force, according to a press release from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. The announcement came after the grand jury examined the evidence in the case and found that the officers were “objectively reasonable and justified in light of the events of that morning,” the release said. According to the release, Westlake officers responded to a 911 call reporting an armed robbery at CVS Pharmacy, 30791 Detroit Rd., around 9:30 a.m. All of the officers, including the two involved in the shooting were aware that three area pharmacies had also been robbed by a man saying he had a gun and threatening to shoot the pharmacists.
Police had been told that Desnoyers, 26, had fled east on Detroit Road in a white Mazda 3 hatchback Several police cars converged on the intersection of Detroit and Crocker Roads from different directions. When Desnoyers attempted to avoid the police in that intersection his car was struck by a police car and came to rest after striking a utility pole, the release said. Police officers then left their vehicles and, according to all witnesses including civilians, repeatedly ordered Desnoyers to show his hands. Officers nearest the car said, that he had first reached for a bottle of oxycodone then pulled a replica handgun from his waistband, the release said.
According to the release, two officers then fired seven shots within 1.1 seconds fatally hitting Desnoyers. The officers were unaware that the firearm was a replica until they pulled Desnoyers from the car and began to administer first aid. The entire incident, from Desnoyers walking into CVS to the shooting, took four minutes, the release said. According to the release, the incident was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations along with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and the FBI. The release said that the evidence was passed to McGinty’s office and in keeping with the policy regarding police use of deadly force involving civilians was passed on to the grand jury for a final decision on charges. Both decided against charging the officers.
“Give the hold-up that had just happened that morning and the actions of Mr. Desnoyers in the seconds before the shooting when he refused to obey their commands and instead drew a gun, the Officers made reasonable decision to fire their weapons and stop a potential threat to themselves and their fellow Officers,” McGinty is quoted as saying in the release. “The police did their duty. Police are trained and expected to shoot in such a situation. There is no other reasonable course of conduct available that would not endanger officers and the public.” Along with the press release, McGinty released his 50-page final report on the incident outlining the evidence and explaining his decision not to pursue charges