Sgt. Mike Skalisky of the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office will not face criminal charges for shooting an unarmed man on March 18 in an apparent accidental discharge of his duty weapon, prosecutors …
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Sgt. Mike Skalisky of the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office will not face criminal charges for shooting an unarmed man on March 18 in an apparent accidental discharge of his duty weapon, prosecutors say.
The incident — as described in an official letter from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announcing the decision not to file charges — occurred at the Kiowa Industrial Park on Highway 86 after Deputy Eli Jarrett attempted to stop the driver for speeding. The man was driving a white Ford F350 without license plates and was clocked driving 67 mph in a 50 mph zone, the DA’s office said.
The driver immediately turned in at the Kiowa Industrial Park and fled on foot. Deputies began searching multiple nearby structures, including shipping containers, freight boxes, sheds and portable toilets around the businesses in the industrial park, prosecutors said.
Skalisky responded to a call for assistance. While searching for the man, Skalisky looked under a tarp in a dog-kennel-sized demonstration model of a truck box, a space that appeared to be too small to conceal a person, and was startled to find the driver there curled into the fetal position, the DA’s office said.
Skalisky told investigators that the surprise of a sudden movement upon finding the driver in the small space caused him to jump back, at which time his duty weapon discharged.
A single round from Skalisky’s 9mm Glock 34 passed through the hiding man’s abdomen and then entered his thigh, causing what a physician described as a non-critical flesh wound because it hit no vital organs, the DA’s office said. The man underwent exploratory surgery at Parker Adventist Hospital and was released the next day.
The letter from the district attorney’s office described Skalinsky’s explanation of the incident by saying that “he did not intend to shoot Mr. H, and he explained the discharge as an involuntary or ‘sympathetic discharge’ resulting from simultaneously clenching and pulling the tarp with his left hand while holding his duty weapon in his right hand.”
“The question here is not so much the appropriate voluntary use of force but the criminal ramifications of an unintended, accidental discharge of a firearm,” the DA’s letter said. “In light of the insufficient evidence for a likelihood of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and the inability to prove that this shooting was the product a conscious voluntary act or even to establish the least culpable of mental states, charges are not warranted based on the evidence.”
The DA’s office therefore determined: “There is not a reasonable likelihood of success at trial and, therefore, no criminal charges are recommended.”
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