Two Clearwater Police officers were justified in shooting a heavily armed man who pointed a rifle at them outside his home last month, the department said Wednesday following an internal investigation.
Mark Bill, 56, was shot in his left forearm and chest Dec. 23 after he pointed an AR15 rifle at police officers who had been called to his Glenmoor Road South home for a welfare check, police said. Family members had reportedly called 911 to warn authorities Bill was suicidal.
Officers Kris Wise and Michael Beaver fired a total of six rounds at Bill after he pointed the rifle at them from his backyard and ignored their commands to drop it, public safety spokesperson Elizabeth Watts said in a media release.
According to a preliminary investigation, officers believed Bill fired a shot, Watts said, but Wednesday's report did not indicate he had in fact fired his weapon. The officers "were in fear for their safety and the safety of their fellow officers," Watts said.
In addition to the rifle, Bill had a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun slung across his body and a .45 caliber Colt handgun in his pocket, in addition to two knives and loose ammunition at the time of the incident, officials said. Bill was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he is still being treated for his injuries.
The police department's Administrative Review Board determined the two officers were "justified in the use of deadly force and were in compliance with all department policies," Watts said Wednesday. They have been cleared to return to normal duty, effective immediately.
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