BILLINGS – After listening to more than 8 hours of evidence over two days, a coroner’s inquest jury took just 30 minutes to determine Billings Officer Grant Morrison was justified when he shot and killed an unarmed man in April.
Chief Rich St. John, who testified at the hearing, agreed.
“Our officers, as well as any other officer in the country, are authorized to use deadly force when there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death,” St. John told the jury during his testimony.
Morrison testified that the actions of Richard Ramirez, who was killed during the encounter, left him no choice but to use deadly force.
“It was his left hand that was most concerning because he repeatedly refused to follow my commands to keep his hands up,” Morrison said. “He continued to reach down to the area along his waste that I couldn’t see whatsoever. I couldn’t see what he was reaching for. I couldn’t see where his hand was, it completely disappeared from my view and it was making me more and more afraid.”
Ramirez was killed when Morrison fired three shots.