- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 9, 2015

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Converse County authorities have concluded that a sheriff’s office deputy was justified in shooting a South Dakota man this summer.

Converse County Attorney Quentin Richardson has decided that Deputy Corey Dwyer will not face charges in the July 23 shooting of Robbie Lee Edison, 47 of Yankton, South Dakota, The Casper Star-Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1XMuvr9).

Richardson wrote to Sheriff Clint Becker informing him of his decision.

“The use of lethal force was completely justified by the actions of the deceased, Mr. Edison,” Richardson wrote in the letter, which was based on a report from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, which investigated the shooting.

Dwyer, who was placed on administrative leave following the shooting, is expected to return to work soon.

At the time of the shooting, Edison, 47, was wanted on a warrant for violating his probation for felony drunk driving in South Dakota.

Dwyer confronted Edison shortly after midnight at a spot off a rural Converse County road after Dwyer spotted a truck that had been reported stolen in Nebraska. Dwyer shot Edison after Edison pointed a realistic-looking BB gun pistol at him and refused to drop it.

Richardson stated in his letter that the shooting occurred after Dwyer shined his flashlight on a tent near the truck and identified himself as a deputy. The deputy ordered Edison “two or three times” to show his hands. Edison placed his left hand into the tent and raised a black handgun with his right hand.

The deputy drew his service weapon and ordered Edison to drop his weapon, to which Edison said “No.”

“Deputy Dwyer was able to see the man tracking him with the gun and that his finger was on the trigger,” Richardson wrote.

Dwyer fired at Edison because “he feared for his life.”

After calling for backup and medical assistance, the deputy realized Edison’s weapon was in fact a BB gun.

“It is virtually impossible to tell it is not a real weapon from even a few feet away under the best of circumstances, certainly not in a very dark location late at night,” the letter states.

Edison sustained four gunshot wounds, one each to his right forearm, right upper arm, chest and back. An autopsy report found Edison had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.228 percent at the time of the shooting. That’s far above the 0.08 percent level at which a person is presumed to be too intoxicated to drive in the state.

“Deputy Dwyer acted as any officer would who as faced by a person who refused to drop a weapon pointed at the officer,” the letter states.

The announcement marks the second in a week in Wyoming in which authorities declared that a peace officer was justified in shooting an armed man.

Last week, Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen concluded there were no grounds for criminal charges against Casper Police Sgt. Daniel Dundas, who shot and killed a man while serving a search warrant at the man’s home in July.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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