La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke announced Friday that a La Crosse Police investigator who shot at a fleeing suspect in Holmen last month was justified.
As a result, Gruenke said that Investigator James Mancuso won't face any criminal charges in connection with the incident December 22 at the Festival Foods parking lot.
Mancuso was part of a group of officers participating in a drug arrest that evening. As Mancuso and other officers tried to stop suspect Brandon Ritter from driving off, Ritter accelerated his car towards Mancuso. According to a statement from the DA's office, Mancuso said "he jumped up in the air and shot his duty weapon as he felt the impact of the car."
Mancuso landed on the hood of the vehicle which continued through the parking lot. He fell off the vehicle moments later.
Ritter then crashed into a snowbank and was arrested by other officers.
In all, four shots were fired by Mancuso at Ritter's vehicle.
In the statement, Gruenke said, "The District Attorney’s Office concludes that Investigator Mancuso was reasonable in his belief that he was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm due to the suspect’s actions of accelerating a vehicle, steering directly towards Investigator Mancuso, and refusing to comply with all police commands."
Ritter is currently in the La Crosse County Jail on felony charges including 1st Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety and Manufacturing/Delivery of Methamphetamine.