Inquest set in fatal shooting by Montana officer
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A coroner’s inquest has been scheduled for next month to determine whether criminal charges should be filed in the death of an unarmed man who was shot by a Billings police officer.
The inquest will start Jan. 6 and is expected to last two days, the Billings Gazette reported Friday (http://tinyurl.com/qxzr74k ).
Police say Richard Ramirez, 38, was killed April 14 by officer Grant Morrison. Authorities said Morrison fired when Ramirez made a downward movement with his hands after Morrison ordered him to keep his hands visible.
It was the second time Morrison shot and killed a suspect in a little more than a year. Ramirez was a suspect in a shooting during a robbery the day before, and the victim in that incident had identified Ramirez as the shooter, police said.
Ramirez was a passenger in a car that had stopped, and Morrison was talking with the occupants, police said.
The fatal shooting of Ramirez was recorded by the dashboard camera in Morrison’s patrol car. The video has not been made public, but prosecutors said it would be shown at the inquest and then released.
Ramirez’s family protested his killing and said Morrison should be prosecuted.
Montana law requires an inquest when an officer kills someone. A jury of seven will determine the cause of death and whether the killing was justified or if charges should be filed.
The shooting occurred 14 months after Morrison shot and killed 32-year-old Jason James Shaw. Jurors in an August 2013 inquest ruled the shooting was justified.
Testimony at the inquest indicated Shaw ignored Morrison’s commands and reached for a weapon, later found to be a BB gun.
Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com