BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County District Attorney's Office has ruled that a Kern County Sheriff's Deputy who shot and injured an armed man in December 2018 was legally justified.
According to a release from the Kern County D.A., on December 12, 2018, Deptuies Charles Leask and Charles Moore contacted John Jones outside of a residence located at 311 McCord Ave. Jones reportedly gave the deputies a false name and when deputies determined it was false, Jones tried to run away. A struggle ensued and Jones and Deputy Leask fell down a flight of stairs to the ground. Deputy Leask was on Jones' back with Jones' hands concealed under his body and would not show them. The D.A.'s office said body camera footage shows 30 seconds into the struggle with Jones, Deputy Leask warned Jones he was going to get tased and two seconds later Deputy Leask says "gun", two more seconds go by and Deputy Leask screams "gun". Within two seconds a gunshot was fired.
Jones was warned not to resist or he would be shot again. Deputy Leask tells Deputy Moore he was shot in the hand. Jones received a non-lethal through and through wound that entered the back of his right shoulder. A portion of the bullet passed through his shoulder and struck Deputy Leask in his left wrist that was underneath Jones.
Jones was armed with a .44 Magnum revolver that was loaded with six live rounds. The firearm was within arms reach when the shooting occurred.
Jones recovered from his injury and was charged with multiple felony violations. On Oct. 1, 2019 he entered a plea agreement for a felony conviction of resisting an officer causing serious bodily injury, resisting executive officer, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of meth. He was sentenced on Nov. 4, 2019 to eight years in prison.
Based upon the evidence, the D.A.'s Office said Deputy Moore responded reasonably to a perceived lethal threat in self-defense and defense of his partner. The shooting is legally justified.
In January 2019, the Kern County Sheriff's Department review board determined the shooting was within department policy and Deputy Moore was been returned to duty.
KCSO also said in January that Deputy Leask had recovered from his injuries and had also returned to full duty.