By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — A police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old man in May was determined to have acted in self-defense and for the public’s safety. Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy announced Friday that no charges resulted from a three-month investigation.
“The officers not only acted in self-defense and defense of others,” Worthy said in a statement, “but no shots were fired until after the decedent had seriously injured one of the officers.”
Police responded to a home in the 2800 block of Longmeadow on May 28 where a high school senior had been “highly agitated and possibly under the influence of drugs,” Director of Police James Nardone said of the report. Kyle Baker, 18, had been acting erratically since before leaving school that day.
Responding officers confronted Baker, who had been sharpening lawn mower blades as part of a home business he’d started. Police and prosecutors said Baker continued to approach the officers while swinging a two-foot-long metal blade.
Baker was Tased but was not slowed, and he swung at and struck an officer with the blade, resulting in a serious wound. When Baker continued advancing a second officer fired a single shot that struck Baker in the stomach. He was pronounced dead soon after in a nearby hospital.
Worthy said a three-month investigation that included civilians, police and medical witnesses was conducted by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Public Integrity Unit. Investigators determined that, “the evidence supports the officer acted in lawful self-defense and in defense of others.”
(James Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com.)