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Prosecutor declines to file charges in fatal police shooting

November 4, 2021 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita police officer who fatally shot a fleeing bank robbery suspect last year is immune from prosecution under Kansas law, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett released his findings into the Dec. 21 death of Paul Peraza following a robbery at the Golden Plains Credit Union in Wichita and the subsequent police chase. He concluded no criminal charges would be filed against the officer.

In his report of that deadly police encounter, Bennett wrote that the investigation found Peraza fled from pursuing officers in a stolen Toyota Tundra at speeds approaching 80 mph on a congested street, swerving into incoming traffic before striking a stationary Chevy Suburban as he turned at a high rate of speed. When the first police officer pulled in behind the truck, Peraza reversed his struck striking the patrol car. That officer exited his vehicle and yelled verbal commands to stop.

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Instead, Peraza put his truck into gear and began to accelerate, striking a Honda Accord that was waiting at a traffic light, according to the report. The suspect then drove onto the path of other cars as well as another officer who had also exited his vehicle.

It was at this point that the first officer fired his handgun four times through the window of the rear driver’s side door, striking Peraza three times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The officer’s explanation that he believed Mr. Peraza posed a danger to the other officer and the public is supported by the facts,” Bennett said.