PoliceOne Staff Report (TOPEKA, Kan.) -- A review board has determined that an officer acted appropriately when he fired 17 times at a house from which a suspect was shooting at him.
Troy R. Lindvall was cleared yesterday of any wrongdoing when he returned fire on Dec. 1 after a man shot at him and a handcuffed prisoner five to 10 times.
"The incident represented a clear and present danger to the officer and to the suspect he had in custody," Lt. John Sidwell told the Topeka Capital Journal. "He had a duty to protect the suspect and himself."
The police department's Use of Force Review Board has forwarded its report on the shooting to Chief Dean Forster, who must approve the report before it becomes the official findings of the department.
At about 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 Lindvall chased a suspect fleeing a routine traffic stop to the backyard of 2116 S.E. Ohio. The officer tackled the suspect as he tried to break into the house. Then, as the officer was handcuffing the suspect, a man inside the house fired several rounds from a high powered rifle through the back door, according to the Capital Journal
The officer returned fire as he dragged the handcuffed suspect out of harms way.
The man, Brian Lamont Smith, then called 911, telling them that someone was trying to break into his house.
When other police arrived they searched Smith's house and found an unspecified amount of marijuana, two handguns and a mini-14 high-powered rifle.
Smith was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and aggravated assault, both felonies.
Sidwell said police would be happy to hear any suggested alternatives as to how they could deal with similar situations.
"But an officer in that position has to make a very rapid decision," Sidwell told the Capital Journal, "and it's extremely difficult to second-guess the officer who made that decision when somebody's firing upon him and somebody else."