10/01/2006

N.Y. officer cleared in deadly vehicle shooting, angering victim's family

The Associated Press

SHERIDAN, New York- A state trooper who shot a young man five times at close range after his gun belt got caught on the man's speeding all-terrain vehicle was cleared of any charges in the man's death, according to a media report.

A grand jury on Friday decided not to indict Trooper Sean Pierce, who has said he had to shoot 25-year-old Bradley Horton to save his own life, The Post-Journal reported.

Pierce clung to Horton's back for more than half a mile on a darkened country road after his gun belt got looped around the ATV's luggage rack. He said he shouted repeatedly for Horton to stop and then shouted, "'I'm going to shoot you," and did.

Pierce said he was trying to incapacitate Horton so he would stop accelerating. The ride began when Pierce tried to pull Horton over for not wearing a helmet.

"Quite frankly, it's tragic," Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley said, according to the paper. "I feel badly for the (Horton) family. It's an almost unbelievable series of events that goes on out there. But that doesn't mean that the trooper wasn't justified."

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