Officers cleared after fugitive dies during warrant service

Officers cleared after fugitive dies during warrant service
(Source: WIS)
(Source: WIS)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Officers on a federal task force are cleared of any wrongdoing after a Texas fugitive died when officers attempted to serve a murder warrant on him in January.

The suspect, identified by investigators as Damon James, was being served a murder warrant in connection with the 2014 death of his girlfriend in Houston when he opened fire on agents from the US Marshals service, Lexington County Sheriff's Department, S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the Columbia Police Department. Agents found him working on a vehicle in the parking lot of the Byron Road Apartments when they attempted to serve the warrant.

The task force observed James at the apartment complex in the parking lot. As the task force approached, James attempted to flee the area, but turned around and got inside of a Nissan Murano. The task force continued to approach, announcing that they were law enforcement officers and telling James to show his hands. James was holding a 9mm gun and pointed it at one of the officers, a investigative review stated.

Officers fired their weapons, and James was struck by gunfire, but was still alive, a report said. It was then that officers heard a muffled gunshot from inside the vehicle. The task force approached the vehicle, opened the vehicle and called for EMS to assist James.

James was pronounced dead at 12:41 p.m. Jan. 25. An autopsy showed he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson said all officers acted in accordance with state laws and the officers' use of force was reasonable. Johnson concluded there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

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