DA Finds July 2016 Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in SB Legally Justified

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the fatal officer-involved shooting of 26-year-old Cody Wayne Jarrett by San Bernardino Police Officer Brandon Koch on July 16, 2016. That review concluded Koch’s use of deadly force was legally justified.
According to deputy district attorney Lynette Grulke, on July 16, 2016 officer Koch was in uniform on duty and assigned to patrol in a marked patrol vehicle, turning onto Highland Avenue, when he saw Jarrett in an older model Honda. Jarrett looked at Koch and quickly turned away, according to Grulke. Koch ran the Honda’s license plate and learned the vehicle had been reported stolen.
Officer Koch followed Jarrett as he turned the Honda north into the parking lot of MT & H Market located on West Highland Avenue. Koch approached Jarrett with his gun drawn and ordered Jarrett not to move.
According to Grulke, Jarrett “reached back into the vehicle and grabbed something from the passenger side of the vehicle. Officer Koch ordered Jarrett to show his hands and to stay in the vehicle. Jarrett did not comply. Instead, Jarrett opened the driver’s
side door and got out of the vehicle. Jarrett had an object, approximately two feet in length, compressed against his chest. Officer Koch believed Jarrett was holding a small aluminum baseball bat.Jarrett turned east and ran.Officer Koch warned Jarrett that he would be tased if he ran.”
Grulke said Koch deployed his Taser on Jarrett as he ran north and Jarrett fell to the ground before getting up, running southeast. Koch deployed his Taser a second time, and Jarrett fell to the ground again, still holding the object in his left hand, according to Grulke. After Koch kicked Jarrett in the torso, Jarrett stood back up. Koch tried unsuccessfully to Taser Jarrett a third time. A physical altercation ensued and Jarrett dropped the weapon, whereupon, according to Grulke, “Koch quickly realized the object he believed was a small aluminum baseball bat was in fact a sawed-off shotgun. Officer Koch ordered Jarrett not to grab the weapon but Jarrett refused to comply. Jarrett reached down and grabbed the shotgun. Afraid that Jarrett would try to shoot him, officer Koch fired approximately two to three gunshots at Jarrett.“
In his statement, Koch claimed Jarrett turned and ran west with the shotgun. Three witnesses said that as Jarrett ran, they did not see any object in Jarrett’s hands.
According to Grulke, “As Jarrett was running, Jarrett turned to look towards officer Koch. Afraid that Jarrett would try to shoot him with the shotgun, Officer Koch fired approximately two to three more rounds at Jarrett. Officer Koch continued to chase after Jarrett as he ran west towards the east sidewalk of Mountain View Avenue. Jarrett turned towards officer Koch a third time. Afraid for his physical safety, officer Koch fired approximately two more rounds at Jarrett. Officer Koch estimated Jarrett was fifteen feet from him when those last rounds were fired. Jarrett ultimately collapsed near Mountain View Avenue.”
Grulke says there was a videocam at MT & H Market and “Part of the incident under review was captured on the video recording. Jarrett appears to be holding a long metal object in his left hand as he is running.” Grulke identified the weapon as a “Savage Arms 12-gauge pump, Model 69, Series E, shotgun. According to Grulke’s report, “The barrel of the shotgun had been modified and shortened and was fully loaded with 12-gauge shot shells containing ‘birdshot.’”
In her conclusion, Grulke wrote, “It was reasonable for officer Koch to believe Jarrett would shoot him given the fact that Jarrett armed himself with a weapon prior to exiting the stolen vehicle, Jarrett physically struggled with officer Koch attempting to flee, Jarrett was determined to keep possession of the shotgun, and Jarrett refused to comply with officer Koch’s orders. Any officer under those circumstances would have made the same reasonable decision to fire their weapon. Thus, officer Koch’s decision to use deadly force was justified.”

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