Police officer 'justified' in fatal Iron Mountain shooting; Autopsy reveals drugs in suspect's system

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards ruled on Friday that an Iron Mountain Police Officer’s fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man on August 27, 2018 was justifiable.

The suspect, Riley Starnes, was shot three times by Iron Mountain Police Officer Cory Johnson after Starnes had opened fire on Johnson.

In audio footage from Officer Johnson’s body worn camera, it can be heard that Officer Johnson immediately came under fire after exiting his patrol car.

The autopsy report shows that Starnes cause of death was exsanguination due to ballistic trauma. He had gunshot wounds to the chest, flank, and hip.

The autopsy also showed that he had amphetamine, benzodiazepine, buprenorphine and THC in his system.

Officer Johnson was taken to Dickinson County Healthcare System where he was treated for multiple injuries including puncture wounds to his left temple and left cheek and glass fragments embedded in his left scalp. He also suffered moderate hearing loss and multiple abrasions.

The Dickinson County Prosecutor said that evidence supports that Officer Johnson was in danger of being killed or seriously injured. And although he ultimately received backup from other law enforcement officers/agencies, Officer Johnson was the only Officer at the scene at the time of the shooing.

Prosecutor Richards also said in a press release that, “He had an honest and reasonable belief that he was in imminent danger and acted immediately to defend himself.”

After a careful review, it was determined that this incident resulting in the loss of life is not a criminal matter and no criminal charges will be authorized.

For past stories on this incident, check out the related stories section of this article. To read the entire report from Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards, visit the related documents section of this article.

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