Danville Police Officers will not face charges in shooting death

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Danville, VA. (WDBJ7)-- Two Danville Police officers involved in a deadly officer involved shooting in April will not face criminal charges.

The Virginia Commonwealths Attorney for the City of Danville, Michael J. Newman, held a press conference Monday afternoon where he said the officers did everything they were supposed to do and followed the laws in their encounter with 25-year-old Juan Markee Jones.

The shooting in the early morning hours of April 8th sparked protests in Danville and prompted the Chief of Police, Scott Booth, to release part of the body camera footage from the shooting.

"The body worn camera footage speaks for itself in terms of what actually happened," said Newman.

After two months of reviewing the case, Newman and Virginia State Police showed even more footage and evidence Monday afternoon.

Newman showed surveillance footage from the Sunrise Store minutes before the shooting. In the video, Jones confronts his then girlfriend, Shantaria Plunkett, and assaults her.

Plunkett called 9-1-1 immediately after, asking for help and an ambulance. She then drove to her home on Sunset Drive. Minutes later, Jones pulls up to the home as well. Plunkett said Jones started to kick in their door. She called 9-1-1 again.

Police pulled up to the home and Jones retreated back to his vehicle. Police surrounded his car asking him to exit multiple times. Jones refuses to get out of the car and calls Plunkett from his vehicle.

Video shows Jones then decided to turn down a dirt road and drive away from police. He hit a tree and eventually got out of the car, but would not show his hands. Police asked for him to show his hands multiple times and he did not.

Police tried to taze Jones, unsuccessfully. Jones then made a quick movement with his hands still concealed. Two police officers fired a total of five shots, striking Jones twice. Jones was not armed.

According to Newman, there was a, "reasonable belief of imminent danger based on his actions especially when he would not show his hands and his quick movement up as if he had a weapon."

The whole incident lasted about nine minutes, but Newman reviewed binders of information for two months. He said it's a tragic conclusion, "But it's a conclusion that I cannot say that they crossed the criminal line in reference to charging them. In order to charge the officers we need criminal offenses."

According to toxicology reports Jones had alcohol in his system, a BAC of .1 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.

Police said they were called to the home on Sunset Drive multiple times in the past, including once in December after reports of a domestic dispute. Newman said Plunkett had pending charges against Jones for a protective order.

The two officers involved, Officer Christopher Simpkins and David Branch were on paid administrative leave while the investigation took place. The Danville Police Department said Officer Simpkins has since resigned from the DPD to take an opportunity elsewhere. Officer Branch will be returning to his regular shift assignment.

"While it is a tragedy, it is a tragedy Danville Police Department tried to avoid at all costs," said Newman.

You can also watch the entire press conference on the WDBJ7 Facebook page.