DA's office will not bring criminal charges against officers who shot and killed man with sword
The officers "were privileged under law of self-defense"
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office will not pursue criminal charges against the Wauwatosa police officers who shot and killed 29-year-old Antonio Gonzales in July.
According to a review sent to Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber by the district attorney's office, the officers, Joseph Mensah and Jeffrey Newman, "were privileged under the law of self-defense, and defense of others, in that the officers believed they were confronting an armed suspect who intented to cause them great bodily harm or death."
The review stated that Gonzales had a blood alcohol content of .255 when he died from multiple gunshot wounds after he was shot by police July 16 when he was confronted carrying a sword.
The incident occurred at 8533 Glencoe Circle, where Gonzales was a tenant.
The officers involved in the incident returned back to work Aug. 25 after administrative leave.
Details of the incident
According to a review submitted by Deputy District Attorney Patrick Kenney, Wauwatosa officers were dispatched to the scene at 9:19 p.m. that evening for an intoxicated tenant who was becoming violent. A subsequent dispatch indicated the subject was "trying to cut the 911 caller with a 'spearhead.'"
The officers reported that as they approached the front door of the residence, Gonzales exited the front door carrying what the officers believed to be a long stick and a round object, according to the review.
"As Gonzales stepped into the light in the front of the residence, the officers observed that he was carrying a large sword," the review stated.
Gonzales walked towards the officers with the sword raised over his head and the officers moved backwards in an effort to create space between them. Both officers told Gonzales to drop the weapon, but he ignored their commands and continued to advance on the officers, according to the review.
"It appeared to Officer Newman that Gonzales was intoxicated, on drugs or suffering from some type of mental illness due to his appearance," the review said.
As Gonzales approached to within 6 to 10 feet of the cops, both officers fired their weapons until Gonzales "fell to the ground and was no longer a threat."
Mensah fired his weapon because he feared for his safety as well as the safety of two other citizens on scene, according to the review. Newman stated Gonzales was close enough to strike Mensah with his sword when he discharged his handgun.
Mensah attempted to provide medical assistance to Gonzales.
Scene investigation by the Milwaukee Police Department revealed that Mensah fired his service weapon, a .40 Glock, eight times. Newman, also using a .40 Glock, fired one shot, according to the review.
A Samurai sword with a 49-inch blade and 163/4-inch handle was recovered from the scene. Gonzales' roommate, who had originally contacted police, said the 29-year-old was a collector of blade-type weapons and had a history of mental health problems. The roommate also reported Gonzales was drinking prior to the incident, according to the review.
An autopsy performed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office revealed Gonzales died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the review. Additionally, toxicology results indicated Gonazles' blood alcohol content level at the time of death was .255.
Milwaukee police officers canvassed the area and talked to numerous citizens who reported seeing and hearing portions of the incident. The Milwaukee Police Department conducted the shooting investigation and enlisted the help of the Wisconsin Regional Crime Laboratory and the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Officer, according to the review.
By state law, fatal officer-involved shootings must be investigated by outside agencies.
According to the review, numerous citizens reported hearing the officers shout to Gonzales to drop the weapon and observed him "holding the sword and brandishing it in a menacing fashion."
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