LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it will not charge the police officer who shot and killed Ricardo Munoz on Sept. 13.
District Attorney Heather Adams made the announcement saying that the officer was justified in the use of deadly force. She also added that Munoz presented an imminent threat that “was beyond reasonable,” as the officer was being chased with a knife.
Lancaster City Police Department released body camera footage just hours after the incident happened. The video showed Munoz running out of a home cursing, with a knife over his head. The officer ran away and then shot multiple times.
“There is a four-second interaction where the officer runs for his life, he retreats, he confirms the threat is imminent and reacts by firing. There is no time for de-escalation,” Adams said.
Police were answering to a domestic disturbance. The person who called 911 said her 27-year-old brother was being aggressive with her mother. Family later said they wanted mental health help.
Munoz’s death was followed by several days of riots, and then several days of peaceful protests in the city. Cars and windows of the police department and unrelated neighboring businesses were smashed, and fires were set.
Nine people arrested during those riots had preliminary hearings last week.
Wednesday’s announcement also comes at a time when many are questioning if current Lancaster Polie Chief Jarrad Berkihiser has been fored into retirement.
Democratic Mayor Danene Sorace said she won’t comment because it’s an agreement between the two, but many believe it’s because the chief’s wife wrote a comment on Facebook supporting the President.
A petition to get the chief his job back has more than 11,500 signatures.
Berkihiser has been with the department 26 years, and his retirement becomes official at the end of the month.