The Lakewood police officer who shot a man while off duty near Port Orchard earlier this year has been cleared by Kitsap County prosecutors.
Officer Darrell Moore was found to have been justified in shooting Thomas St. Clair on Jan. 29, the Kitsap Sun reported.
St. Clair, a 24-year-old felon who was shot in the arm during the incident, was convicted of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm last month in Kitsap County Superior Court. Judge Kevin Hull sentenced St. Clair to three years in prison.
According to prosecutors:
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Moore, still in uniform and driving home from work, saw St. Clair freeze while standing behind a car in the 5100 block of Southeast Granada Place about 4 a.m.
Moore became suspicious of St. Clair, who appeared to be hiding his left side from him, and because St. Clair said he lived at the home but didn’t know the address.
Moore asked St. Clair if he was armed, which he denied.
The Lakewood officer then tried to frisk him, when St. Clair admitted to having a gun.
The men struggled, and Moore fired first, saying he saw St. Clair reach for something at his waist and had something dark in his hand.
St. Clair hid behind a vehicle, and Moore went around it, only to find a gun pointed on him.
Moore fired again, hitting St. Clair in the arm. Moore found a pistol, later determined to be unloaded, near where St. Clair had been.
“Due to St. Clair’s resistance to Moore’s commands, his attempts to reach toward his waist and that he eventually had the gun in his hand, it was reasonable for Moore to believe that St. Clair was attempting to shoot him,” prosecutors said. “Therefore, Moore’s use of force was justified.”
Moore has been a police officer for more than 12 years and with Lakewood Police Department for more than four years, Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler said in February.
Moore was one of two officers who fired their weapons in the June 18, 2013, fatal shooting of Patrick O’Meara, 28.
O’Meara, who had been wanted on a felony warrant, had waved a gun during the confrontation with the officers, police said, then, lunging at them and prompting the officers to shoot O’Meara three times.
The gun turned out to be a realistic-looking cap gun, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said when clearing Moore and the other officer of wrongdoing in October 2013.
As a Poulsbo police officer, Moore on July 23, 2010, shot and killed Matthew James Netter, 23, during a DUI emphasis patrol, according to the Sun.
Prosecutor Russ Hauge said Netter threatened Moore with a pistol.