Officer avoids charges in shooting of man holding air pistol

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee police officer will not be charged after fatally shooting a man who pointed an air pistol at motorists and police, who thought it was a real gun.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said Friday that a Memphis police officer acted lawfully when the officer shot and killed Andre Horton, 42, in December 2018.

Investigators said motorists called police after they saw Horton walking in the middle of a north Memphis road and pointing what appeared to be a gun at passing drivers.

Horton walked toward officers when they arrived and pointed the weapon at them, Weirich said in a news release.

An officer put his car spotlight on Horton and ordered him to drop his gun, but Horton advanced to within 20 feet (6 meters) with the weapon still pointed at the officer, Weirich said.

The officer shot Horton in the chest, neck and abdomen. Horton died at a hospital.

Authorities found that Horton was holding a realistic-looking air pistol that looked like a real handgun.

“These officers were responding to the concerns of panicked motorists about a man pointing a gun at them,” Weirich said in a statement. “He not only ignored an order to drop the weapon, but he also continued to walk toward the officers while pointing the gun at them. Mr. Horton left the officer with no choice but to discharge his weapon.”

Weirich made her decision after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s probe of the shooting.

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