Authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, said five police officers who fatally opened fire on a 79-year-old man with a gun earlier this month were “justified and reasonable” in the shooting.
The police department released the findings of its criminal investigation on Monday.
The shooting happened Dec. 10, after officers were dispatched to the Four Seasons retirement community on Secret Grove Court in Dumfries, Virginia, around 7:15 p.m. A woman called 911 saying her husband was armed and suicidal.
Before police arrived, the man left the home on foot with a handgun and was believed to be in a nearby wooded area, according to investigators.
A police helicopter reported that the man was walking back to the home. Officers then found him on the front porch holding the gun. According to the investigation, police told him to drop the weapon, but within seconds, he pointed the gun toward the officers, five of whom shot the man multiple times.
The victim, 79-year-old Kurtis Kay Frevert, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. No officers were injured. His wife was also unhurt.
“In this incident, the danger posed by the decedent was real,” Amy Ashworth, the commonwealth’s attorney for Prince William County, said in a news release. “Each of the officers expressed that they believed either they, individually, were in danger of being killed or that the other officers present were in danger of being shot or killed.”
Jarad Phelps, acting chief of the Prince William County Police Department, added that the incident was tragic for everyone involved and “underscores the dangers officers face each day.”
None of the five officers who shot Frevert have been involved in a previous police shooting, and all have been cleared to return to duty.
The investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and was reviewed by the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.
The Prince William County Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards is continuing an independent administrative investigation into the shooting, and a final review will be done by the department’s Use of Deadly Force Review Board.