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Grand jury says shooting justified

October 29, 2005|By DAVID DISHNEAU

FREDERICK, Md. - A Frederick County grand jury cleared two Frederick city police officers Friday in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Salvadoran immigrant.

State's Attorney Scott Rolle said the 23-member panel was satisfied that Dany W. Rosales pointed what appeared to be a .380-caliber Walther PPK handgun at the officers and that they shot him in self-defense on Sept. 30, Rosales' birthday. The gun turned out to be a look-alike BB pistol.

One of Rosales' friends had stated publicly that Rosales was unarmed and that officers James Martin and Michael Weaver had shot him as he obeyed their commands. Rolle said the evidence, including testimony from other witnesses, supported the police version of events.

"While the community gets to sit in judgment of this, I think the grand jury got to do that this morning, and they very clearly sent the message that our police officers acted appropriately in this particular case," Rolle said.

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Rosales family attorney Dino Flores Jr. said he didn't know whether Dany's parents would sue the city, but he said they had come to believe over the past month in the fairness of the grand jury process.

"They wanted to make sure that somebody was going to look at this independently," Flores said. "They do feel they were treated fairly by the state's attorney's office."

Frederick Police Chief Kim C. Dine said the officers, who were placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting, would return soon to their regular jobs as members of the drug investigation unit.

Rolle said the officers had confronted Rosales for drinking beer at his birthday party in a park earlier in the afternoon. About 5:30 p.m., they found him fighting with another man and saw a gun in his hand. Rosales apparently tried to flee, but stumbled and then, as he regained his footing, partially turned and pointed the weapon at the officers, Rolle said.

Rolle said Rosales was shot twice - once in the left armpit and once behind the left ear. The head wound proved fatal, he said.

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