A California cop who shot a man who had stuck his head out of a car that had rolled over will not be prosecuted, a district attorney announced Thursday.
Paradise police officer Patrick Feaster told investigators he never meant to shoot Andrew Thomas, possibly leaving him paralyzed for the rest of his life.
And Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey took Feaster’s word on it, which led to his decision not to prosecute.
According to Ramsey, several factors led investigators to believe the shooting was accidental. “The dash cam video shows Officer Feaster was not prepared for and was surprised by the guns firing. The pistol discharges in mid-stride and the officer both flinches his head to the right and does a stutter step indicative of an officer not prepared for nor intentionally firing his pistol. Additionally, officers normally train to fire a minimum of two shots. There was no second shot and the officer immediately holstered his weapon after the discharge.”
In a media release, Ramsey said “His (Officer Feaster’s) reaction on the dash cam video and his statements to protocol investigators confirm an honest belief that he did not intentionally fire his pistol.”
But despite his claim that the shooting was accidental, Feaster never mentioned to the responding paramedics and officers that he had shot Thomas until more than ten minutes after their arrival.
And only because another officer noticed he had been shot and was preparing to dispatch officers to the bar where Thomas and his wife had been drinking to see if he had been shot there.
Thomas’s wife, Darien Ehorn, was ejected from the car and killed. Thomas, 26, will likely face DUI and manslaughter charges.
Feaster shot him in the neck, striking the C7 and T1 vertebrae, which could leave him paralyzed for life.