BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Two officers involved in the deadly shooting of a Bossier City man in August have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Bossier Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Johnathan Jefferson, 34, was fatally shot on August 8 by police outside his home on Plaza Circle after officers were called to respond to a report of a domestic disturbance. Family members say Jefferson was bipolar and had schizophrenia, and that he was having a manic episode that night. His mother told KTAL that her son had been struggling with mental illness since he was 21 and that police had been called several times over the years for help in getting him to the hospital. But that night, the family did not recognize the officers who responded and they did not appear to be familiar with him.
Family members also said Jefferson had a knife before police arrived, but they say they did not know whether he still had it in his hand when police arrived. State police took over the investigation and the two officers were placed on administrative leave.
According to a letter sent December 18 from DA Schulyer Marvin to Bossier Police Chief Shane McWilliams and the Louisiana State Police, the actions of officers Eric Sproles and Charles Bridges were justified.
“Based on all the evidence reviewed it is my firm opinion that no crime was committed by either officer. The officers’ actions and the resulting consequences, including the death of Mr. Jefferson were justified. The circumstances confronting these officers were such that a reasonable belief existed that one or both were in imminent danger of losing life or suffering great bodily harm, and the discharge of firearms was necessary for the prevention of a potentially lethal threat.”
In the letter, Marvin said he came to that conclusion after meeting with state police investigators to review their findings as well as video of the incident.