Officer who shot Sumter man won't be charged

By Jody Barr - bio | email

SUMTER, SC (WIS) - The solicitor has decided not to file charges against the officer who shot and killed a suspect in Sumter last year.

Last September, Sumter police officer Jason Lyons gunned down 24-year-old Aaron Jacobs. Police say Jacobs matched the description of a carjacking suspect. The officer says Jacobs pulled a gun on him, but witnesses say it didn't happen that way.

"Here on the cross, we got some little words left in memory to my brother," said Eddie Sinkler, Jacobs' brother. "You got one on here that somebody wrote 'I love you 9. Big Sis, 2010.'"

It's something Sinkler says his family can't get past, especially now that the investigation into his brother's death is closed and the officer who shot him will not face charges.
Sumter police spotted Aaron Jacobs walking along Patriot's Parkway wearing clothing similar to a carjacker police were searching for. After questioning Jacobs, the officers said he pulled away from them, and spotted a gun tucked into his waistline.

Witnesses say they saw Jacobs running away, when Officer Jason Lyons shot him four times in the back of his head and back. The officer told sled Jacobs "pointed a firearm at him" before Lyons opened fire.
A second officer standing beside Lyons said Jacobs pulled his gun out while he was running away from the officers, but that officer never said anything about Jacobs pointing the gun at them. "I just don't see how it could happen that way," said Sinkler. "And the eyewitnesses that don't even know the family to come up and give statements and the stuff they did, I mean, none of it's matching up."

"If he had been pointing the gun any kind of way, those shots would have been coming from the front," said Sinkler. "No shots would have been from the back."

Kendrick Miller witnessed the shooting, and gave this version to sled agents that day. "Nah, he ain't never pointed no firearm," said Miller. "He was more about trying to run away. I ain't see no weapons on him, he was more about trying to get away from the cops."

Jacobs' family met with Sumter County Solicitor Chip Feeney after Feeney decided the shooting was justified. In a June 10 letter to SLED, the solicitor said he'd reopen the case if new evidence came up.

Sinkler says outside of what SLED gathered last September, there's no evidence left. But Sinkler vows to keep fighting. "It's not a day goes by that I don't miss him or anything like that," said Sinkler.

Feeney said he decided against charging the officer because of what he calls "insufficient evidence," despite the evidence that shows Aaron Jacobs was running away from the officers, didn't point the gun and never fired a shot. Feeney says the officer's reaction was justifiable, and felt he had a suspect who posed a real threat.

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FBI investigating fatal police shooting of Sumter man

Officers shoot, kill Sumter man during carjacking investigation

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