- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A police officer charged with shooting an unarmed panhandler resigned Thursday, the Springfield Police Department said.

“Today, Officer (Jason) Shuck submitted a letter of resignation from the SPD,” Chief Paul Williams said in a news release. “I have accepted his resignation, effective immediately.”

On May 9, Springfield resident Eric Butts, 27, was standing outside a store with a cardboard sign saying he had lost his job and needed help to support his pregnant wife. Police were called because he had an outstanding arrest warrant after failing to appear in court for a parole violation.

Shuck said he accidentally shot Butts with a gun instead of a stun gun when Butts tried to flee, authorities said. According to a probable cause statement, Shuck officer told a Springfield police detective that “the best explanation that I have is that my … brain was saying Taser … but my body moved faster than my brain.”

Butts was hit in the lower back and suffered serious intestinal injuries that require him to use a colostomy bag, the Springfield News-Leader (https://sgfnow.co/1pPJDmk ) reported. Butts was scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday to reverse the colostomy.

Shuck faces up to a year in jail if convicted of a misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 26 in Greene County.

A message seeking comment was left with Shuck’s attorney Thursday.

The department awarded Shuck a meritorious service award last year.

___

Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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