Montana police officer sobs after shooting drugged-out suspect
(ABC 7 Los Angeles) BILLINGS, Montana – A Montana police officer broke into tears after fatally shooting an unarmed man who was high on methamphetamine during a traffic stop, according to video shown to a jury last week.
The jury at a coroner’s inquest determined last Wednesday that Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison was justified when he shot 38-year-old Richard Ramirez three times. Morrison testified that he feared for his life and believed Ramirez was reaching for a gun.
In April 2014, the five-year veteran pulled over a red sedan with four people inside. The video shows Morrison telling the occupants of the car multiple times to put their hands up. He quickly realizes Ramirez, who was suspected in a robbery and shooting the previous night, was also in the car.
“What are you doing? Why are you moving your hands so much?” he says in the video.
“Get your hands up. I will shoot you. I will shoot you. Hands up!” Morrison yells before firing into the car.
The actions of the occupants inside the car could not be seen clearly in the footage.
Minutes later, another officer is seen attempting to comfort Morrison as he begins sobbing and places his head in his hands, the video shows.
Ramirez turned out to be unarmed and high on methamphetamine. An autopsy showed Ramirez had enough methamphetamine in his system at the time that may have been lethal to someone not accustomed to the drug, a forensic pathologist testified.
Under Montana law, coroner’s inquests are mandatory when someone is killed by an officer or dies in custody.
The Yellowstone County Attorney is not expected file any charges after the jury’s decision.
The Ramirez family said they intend to file a lawsuit against Morrison and the Billings Police Department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.