Troopers deemed 'justified' in shooting suspect in May
BARTON -- The Attorney General's Office this week cleared two state troopers who in May shot a man 29 times after he ran a stop sign, led police on a chase and rammed his car into their cruisers.
Trooper Seth Loomis and Sgt. Denis Girouard were legally justified in using deadly force, Attorney General Bill Sorrell ruled.
The man they shot was Eric D. Jackson, 28, an inmate who was on furlough at the time. The incident happened in Barton on May 28. Jackson was wounded but survived the shooting.
The law says an officer must "reasonably believe" that he or a third party is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury and that deadly force is necessary to respond to that threat.
The shooting occurred in the early morning hours when Jackson ran a stop sign in a green 1994 Jeep Cherokee. The officers followed him with blue lights and sirens but Jackson did not pull over, according to police.
Police pursued him on an 18-mile chase at nearly 100 miles per hour, police said. They recognized him from prior incidents when they saw his face in the side mirror, police said.
Jackson eventually stopped on Burton Hill Road, ramming his Jeep into the passenger's side of Girouard's cruiser then backing into Loomis' cruiser, dislodging its video camera. Jackson then rammed forward again into the first cruiser, but Girouard had gotten out and yelled at him to stop.
Girouard drew his handgun so he could see Jackson looking at him, police said.
"Both Loomis and Girouard reported feeling that Jackson was attempting to kill each of them by running them over," according to a news release from the attorney general.
Both officers fired at Jackson, but the Jeep again accelerated backward and became stuck on an embankment.
As the Jeep accelerated toward Girouard, both Loomis and Girouard fired at Jackson. As Jackson fumbled to manipulate the vehicle's shifter, Girouard fired his weapon at Jackson until he slumped down in his seat.
After they shot him, the troopers performed first aid until an ambulance arrived. It took him to North Country Hospital and then Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he was treated for wounds to the face, stomach, shoulder and hand, police said.
The attorney general's investigation into the shooting included interviews with the involved troopers as well as work by the state police's crime scene search team and crash reconstruction team.
The officers' actions were found to be consistent with their training "to continue the application of deadly force until the threat of death or serious bodily injury is neutralized."
Orleans County State's Attorney Alan Franklin has completed a separate investigation and reached the same conclusion, Sorrell's office said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Jackson died after the shooting. He did not.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.