- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

No charges will be filed against a Metro Transit Police officer who confronted and fatally shot a man wielding a tree branch inside a D.C. subway tunnel last year.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday its decision not to pursue federal civil rights or local criminal charges against the unnamed police officer.

The officer shot Bobby Gross, 35, five times during an altercation inside a tunnel between the Potomac Avenue and Stadium Armory Metrorail stations on March 12.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District, officials said that investigators “concluded that the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer who was involved in the shooting used excessive force or possessed the requisite criminal intent at the time of the events.”

The statement indicates that the officer went into the tunnel to investigate a report of an unauthorized person on the train tracks.

Inside the tunnel, the officer encountered Gross, who was described as sweating profusely and wearing only a T-shirt and boxer shorts.

The officer approached Gross, who pulled a 3-foot-long tree branch out from behind his back and pointed it at the officer, according to the synopsis provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The officer ordered Gross to drop the stick, warning “Drop the stick or I’ll shoot you!” but he did not comply.

Gross advanced, and the officer fired once. Gross “then began to sprint toward the officer, who fired three more times,” according to the U.S. Attorney.

The officer fired one additional time as Gross “thrust the branch at the officer, striking the officer in the hands and arms.”

Prosecutors, who are barred from discussing grand jury proceedings, declined to say whether the decision not to pursue charges stemmed from any grand jury findings.

According to Metro officials, all Metro Transit officers carry pepper spray and an impact weapon, such as a baton or nightstick, in addition to their firearms.

The statement issued by prosecutors did not indicate that the officer sought to use any of those non-lethal weapons before using the handgun.

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