The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Z_CNHI News Service

October 18, 2013

Trooper found 'justified' in shooting teen

NORMAN, Okla. — A state trooper has been cleared of wrongdoing when he shot a  teenager in a roadside scuffle that followed a road range incident in September.

Greg Mashburn, district attorney for Cleveland County, announced Thursday that he has determined Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Kimmons' actions were "justified and warranted and reasonable" in the Sept. 22 traffic stop.

Kimmons had been called to a report of several teens attacking a woman's car in a road rage incident. The trooper stopped the trio on Interstate 35, about 10 miles south of Oklahoma City. All were juveniles.

Kimmons was handcuffing the driver - unidentified by the district attorney - when the boy began assaulting him, Mashburn said.

A game warden, Chad Strang, intervened and ended up struggling with the boy in a ditch. The boy was on top of the warden and going for his sidearm when Kimmons backed away and warned the boy he would shoot. The teen told the trooper to shoot him, Mashburn said.

“Trooper Kimmons noticed that the game warden was not wearing his vest that day, and so if that weapon had cleared that holster and turned, it would be potentially fatal,” Mashburn said.

The boy remained combative after being shot - up until his arrival at the hospital, Mashburn said.

All three teens were yelling profanities and racial slurs at the officers during and after the altercation - a fact confirmed by a dashboard camera in the trooper's car. The slurs are relevant because the boy has claimed the trooper's actions were racially motivated.

All three teens may face charges, but Mashburn declined to discuss that possibility, citing their ages.

Jessica Bruha is a reporter for The Norman, Okla., Transcript.

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