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DA Says Officers Were Justified In Fatal Shooting

Redding Police Officers have been cleared of blame from a shooting that left a man dead last Summer. 34-year-old Eric Jay Hames was identified by the sheriff’s office in their investigation as a well-known transient in the Redding area. At around 7:45AM the morning of August 28th, multiple 9-1-1 callers reported that Hames was in the middle of Churn Creek Road near Cypress Avenue between Safeway and Walgreen’s, causing trouble, hitting and jumping onto cars and challenging people to fight. A witness caught part of the incident on cell phone video, showing Hames jumping around, yelling obscenities and throwing a glass bottle. A few minutes later RPD Officer Joe Rossi arrived and found Hames in the street holding a fixed-blade knife and challenging the officer to come get him before running into the Safeway Gas Station parking lot. He ran around a car at the pumps and then approached a man until the man showed a holstered gun. Hames then ran back across the road to Walgreen’s, then onto Wall Street as police and civilians chased after him. Hames ran south on Larkspur Lane and was boxed in by officers between Domino’s Pizza and Tri-Counties Bank. High resolution video from the businesses showed he still had the knife in his hand as officers surrounded him. Officer Rossi, along with Officers Kip Kinneavy, Jay Guterding and Brett Leonard all repeatedly ordered Hames to drop the knife for about a full minute. When Hames moved toward Cypress Avenue and Officer Guterding, he was fired upon by all four officers. He was handcuffed and first aid was rendered until medical personnel took over and declared him dead at the scene. Sheriff’s detectives spoke with many witnesses who said Hames had been drinking from a liquor bottle before throwing it to the ground. He had been challenging people to fight and approached a woman at the Safeway Gas Station to ask for a ride while concealing the knife behind his leg. Hames had been to prison twice, once for assault with a deadly weapon and once for possession of an explosive device. He’d been arrested 7 times last year for theft, drugs and weapons. During 4 of those arrests he was charged with resisting. The District Attorney’s Office has determined that Hames was a threat to public safety and the officers were justified in using deadly force