Clearwater Police Department officials today ruled officers were justified in using deadly force last month when they shot a man who was pointing a rifle at them.
According to police, this is what happened:
At about 6:30 p.m. Dec. 23, officers were dispatched to the home of Mark Bill, 2224 Glenmoor Road S., after relatives called 911 and said he was suicidal and owned firearms.
Officers Kris Wise and Michael Beaver, along with additional patrol units, attempted to make contact with Bill by knocking on the front door. Through a window they saw BIll with a rifle inside the home.
At that point officers backed away, called for additional officers and established a perimeter. Minutes later, Bill exited the front door of the residence holding an AR15 rifle.
Over the next several minutes, Bill walked around the back yard of the residence to a spot behind a concrete planter, where he repeatedly raised the rifle and seemed to be targeting officers. Over the next 10 minutes, officers attempted to communicate with him over the PA system from one of the police vehicles, repeatedly ordering to drop his weapon. He did not comply and continued pointing his rifle at officers.
Wise and Beaver were in the back yard of the residence. After hearing a noise, Bill moved toward the back yard, scanning it with his rifle in a firing position. Wise and Beaver ordered Bill to drop his weapon, but he continued to point his rifle at them. Wise fired four rounds and Beaver fired two rounds, striking Bill in the left forearm and chest.
Bill was secured by officers and found to be armed with several additional firearms and knives. He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he remains undergoing treatment.
Clearwater Chief of Police Anthony Holloway convened the Administrative Review Board, which determined Wise and Beaver were justified in the use of deadly force and were in compliance with all department policies. The officers have been cleared to return to normal duty.