MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO)- District Attorney Dan Rubinstein says he has decided that the trooper who fatally shot Jayson Thompson of Bisbee, Arizona will not have charges filed against him.
In his decision, Rubinstein said, "Here, Trooper Wade's use of deadly physical force against Mr. Thompson was authorized, as described above under the theory of self-defense."
The incident occurred on May 9, off of 29 Road and Hwy 50.
A reporting party had called in saying that Thompson had been exhibiting odd behavior in the area of 29 Road and Hwy 50. He had been showing motionless behavior and did not move for a couple of hours.
The reporting party had thought maybe Thompson was a mannequin.
The trooper passed the area earlier and witnessed Thompson exhibiting the same behavior.
The trooper said he saw the man standing motionless and that he had a stick draped across him. The trooper did not stop originally because he heard of a recent incident in California where people set up a mannequin to try to get law enforcement to stop so they could be on video. Adding to that, the trooper said it did not appear Thompson was doing anything illegal.
After passing Thompson, the trooper went on down Hwy 50 for the next hour, and then turned around and started north on his way to Fruita. Passing back, the trooper said he did not pay attention to know if Thompson was still at that scene.
The trooper was around the 29 Road bridge at the Colorado River when dispatch advised that a person called about Thompson's odd behavior.
The trooper went and pulled up and lit his rear deck lights, and turned on his dash camera.
The trooper said when he got out of his patrol vehicle, he saw the stick move, which at that time he knew it was not a mannequin.
The trooper then walked around Thompson so he could approach him from the front. The trooper said he introduced himself to Thompson and asked him what was going on.
The trooper says that Thompson slightly paused after that, then reached down to his waistband.
At first, the trooper said he thought Thompson was pulling a gun out.
Because of this, the trooper reached aside from his Taser, and drew his handgun.
However, the trooper noted that he had instead pulled out a large knife. A picture of the knife can be viewed below.
Thompson allegedly lunged at the trooper but stayed in the same spot. The trooper yelled at Thompson to "drop the knife." Rubinstein notes you could hear this on the dash camera audio track. Thompson dropped the knife after this.
The trooper then called for backup and ordered Thompson to get on the ground several times. However, Thompson allegedly failed to do so, and picked up the knife and started running with it. The trooper noted that Thompson was not running directly at him at this point, but more towards the road.
With the stick in his left hand and the knife in his right hand, the trooper said he traced Thompson with his firearm as he was running around.
Thompson tried to work around to the trooper's backside, but the trooper pivoted with him so he was facing the suspect at all times. Pictures from this scene can be viewed below.
In Rubinstein's report, he said, "It is evident from the video footage that Mr. Thompson ran in an arc-like pattern around Trooper Wade, then got to a point where he stopped. During the encounter Trooper Wade repeatedly yelled, "get on the ground."
Thompson then got to the other side of the trooper and planted and took several steps towards the trooper with the knife extended out. "At which point I shot him, um say three, possibly four times," said Trooper Wade.
Thompson then collapsed to the ground. The trooper then notified dispatch to send EMS.
Thompson was still holding the knife up to his face at this point.
Other officers arrived and removed the knife from Thompson, after deploying a 40 mm, less-lethal impact round in Thompson's leg.
CPR was deployed until EMS arrived.
The trooper said up until the point where Thompson pulled the knife, that he had a "1000 yard stare, blank face." After pulling the knife, the trooper said he saw a "flash of frustration or anger on his face," but then went back to the blank expression. Thompson never said anything during this entire incident according to the trooper.
The trooper said Thompson was less than ten feet from him when he fired his handgun.
"He had failed to respond to any of the commands I had given him, which I had given him several, I had no other place to retreat, and the distance between us was to the point where I...didn’t want to go hands on with
him with him having a knife and I... he didn’t seem to be reacting to anything else.”
When asked what the trooper thought would have happened if he had not shot, he said, "I thought I would get stabbed with a big ass knife.”
He estimated that the blade was around 10-12 inches.
If he lived past this incident, Rubinstein said they would have filed charges of first-degree assault on a peace officer, criminal attempt to commit first-degree assault, and menacing.