- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The district attorney in Reno has cleared a veteran Washoe County sheriff’s deputy in the fatal shooting of a California man during an undercover drug operation in November 2014.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said Friday the deputy, Jason Wood, acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 33-year-old Robert William Hampton III after being struck by Hampton’s vehicle during a traffic stop near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Wood was “abruptly confronted with an imminent and legitimate danger,” that Hicks said made it “absolutely necessary” to use deadly force.

Hicks ruled the killing justified under Nevada law.

Witness accounts, audio and video backed Wood’s account that he tried to open the vehicle door to reach Hampton before Hampton backed up, steered the car toward Wood and hit him in the leg while apparently trying to drive away, the district attorney said.

Wood shot three times, Hicks said, fatally wounding Hampton, who crashed the vehicle into a truck and stopped.

Authorities said Wood was a K-9 handler with 13 years as a sheriff’s deputy, and that Hampton had a felony criminal history including prison time in Kentucky. Hicks said Hampton was sought on three felony warrants when Wood stopped him.

The district attorney said the traffic stop came after a police informant wearing a recording device bought a gram of heroin from Hampton in the parking lot of the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

Police reported finding the money the informant used to buy the heroin in the car, and a stolen revolver under the driver’s seat.

Hicks declared the case closed unless new evidence comes to light.

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