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Report: Officer Gillette thought pellet gun was real gun before shooting

March 7, 2014

YAKIMA, Wash. — There has been controversy in the shooting of Rocendo Arias by Casey Gillette, but the report of the shooting cleared him, according to the Yakima Herald.

“As Patrolman (Jim) Yates walked past me carrying what I thought was the man’s weapon, I saw for the very first time the orange colored marks indicating it was a replica gun,” Gillette wrote in statement that was part of 124 page investigative report.

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The reason why Gillette was at the carwash is also stated in the report: he was investigating what he believed to be an impaired driver. In the investigative report it states that Arias lunged at Gillette while pointing the pellet gun at him.

The report was seen last month by Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty. It was announced last week that Hagarty ageed with the police that Gillette had acted in self-defense.

The investigative report states that Arias had measurable levels of drugs and alcohol in his system during the shooting, and had sent recent text messages about potentially purchasing drugs.

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Yakima Attorney Bill Pickett is doing an investigation of the case, and said the shooting was not justified. The Arias family has plans to sue Gillette and the city for wrongful death and civil rights violations.

“What does the content of somebody’s blood have to do with why an officer had to shoot him? I’m sure people will draw their own conclusions, but the focus of our investigation is whether the shooting is justified,” said Pickett.

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