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Officer Is Cleared in Shooting

June 17, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A Rialto police officer who shot and killed a 21-year-old man while responding to a domestic dispute in February will not face criminal charges, the San Bernardino County district attorney's office announced Monday.

Demetrius Swift, who died immediately after a gunshot punctured his heart and a lung, had exhibited a "very belligerent attitude" and presented "a real and imminent danger" to the officer, said Supervising Deputy Dist. Atty. Benjamin Gonzales, who wrote the 10-page report that declared the shooting legally justified.

The officer, who shot Swift on the morning of Feb. 22, was not identified.

Swift was allegedly involved in a confrontation with the mother of his daughter.

Swift apparently learned the child was at the mother's home and allegedly kicked in a door, punched the woman in the mouth and pulled a kitchen knife from a drawer in the home. The woman's screams prompted neighbors to summon police, according to the report.

After being ordered by two Rialto police officers to drop to the ground and drop his knife, an agitated Swift waved the 10-inch-long knife, threw a rock and approached one of the officers and threatened to kill him.

The officer shot Swift from about 10 feet away, according to the report.

Two witnesses noted concerns that Swift's shooting could have been avoided.

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