Norfolk, Va. - The Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney has concluded that a Norfolk Police officer's use of deadly force against a man who shot and killed another Norfolk Police officer and a teenager on May 30, 2014, was justified and a lawful use of self-defense.
In a 10-page-letter of review sent to Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith, Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney Gregory Underwood provides an overview of the events that took place that night and concludes that 29-year-old James Andrew Brown was solely responsible for the fatal shootings of 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez and Norfolk Police Officer Brian Jones.
According to the letter of review, on the night of May 30th, around 10:40 p.m., Brown began randomly shooting from a red Jeep Cherokee as he drove down Chesapeake Boulevard.
Two of the bullets struck 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez inside his own vehicle as he headed home from a graduation party. The gunshots caused Rodriguez to crash the vehicle and he was pronounced dead at 10:55 p.m. Autopsy reports reveal that a gunshot to his upper left back was the fatal injury.
Brown continued to shoot at random vehicles and people before driving back home to the 7400 block of Wellington Road where he lived with his mother.
Off-duty Norfolk Police Officer Curtis Allison heard the gunfire, grabbed his service weapon, police radio, ballistic vest and rifle and headed towards Wellington Road.
Officer Brian Jones arrived at the location and attempted to get Brown to surrender. Brown disappeared into the house and fired shots through the front window in the direction of Officer Jones.
Brown then came back outside and continued to fire an AK-47-style assault rifle at Officer Jones. He was struck in the chest, piercing his ballistic vest. The
gunshot wound resulted in Officer Jones' death. He was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and declared deceased at 12:20 a.m.
Officer Allison witnessed the shooting and tried to cover Officer Jones. At that time, Brown redirected his gunfire at Officer Allison and struck him in the hip. Officer Allison then fired back before moving to a safer spot across the street.
Brown left his house again in the red Jeep Cherokee and started to be pursued by Norfolk Police Officer Toofan Shahsiah . Eventually Brown drove over several lanes of traffic at the intersection of Galveston Boulevard and East Little Creek Road and lost control of the vehicle, striking several other cars before coming to a stop.
Officer Shahsiah got out of his vehicle and approached Brown giving verbal commands to "Stop" and "Get down." Brown did not comply, instead moving behind the Jeep.
Brown continued to walk away and indicated that he was ready to submit to Officer Shahsiah.
Officer Shahsiah told Brown to "get down on the ground." When Officer Shahsiah approached Brown, Brown lunged at him. Officer Shahsiah responded by striking Brown in the head with his service weapon.
Brown fell back onto the ground and Officer Shahsiah holstered his weapon in an attempt to handcuff Brown. At that point, Brown grabbed the Officer Shahsiah's neck and head and attempted to grab for his gun.
Officer Shahsiah was able to push Brown away, draw his service weapon and fire eight rounds at Brown, resulting in his death. The report of the shooting was radioed in at 10:50 p.m.
Several witnesses corroborated this account.