MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two narcotics officers with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will face no criminal charges in the fatal shooting in January of a man they were trying to detain in a drug case, Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich said Monday.
Bryan K. Gregory, 34, was killed Jan. 17 inside his parked vehicle on Decatur Street. Gregory was the target of a narcotics investigation, and officers also had a search warrant for his residence.
When two sheriff’s vehicles boxed in Gregory’s car, he put his car in reverse and rammed into one officer’s vehicle. Blue lights were activated and officers wore uniform vests identifying them as law enforcement.
“The officer was ordering him out of the car. That’s when he reached for a weapon underneath the seat,” Floyd Bonner, then chief deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said at the time.
The suspects mother disagreed with the deputies’ account.
As an officer was attempting to remove him from the vehicle, the officer fired his weapon, striking Gregory in the right shoulder, with the bullet entering his chest, Weirich said.
Gregory died later at a hospital. A gun was found on the driver’s side floorboard. Money and marijuana also were found in the car.
A second officer accidentally discharged his weapon from the passenger side. The bullet went through the suspect’s vehicle and exited the driver’s door.
“Officers had their weapons drawn and repeatedly commanded the suspects to ‘Show me your hands,’” Gen. Weirich said in a recent letter to then-Sheriff Bill Oldham. “(The passenger) complied. Gregory did not, but instead fumbled with a bag in his lap and then reached down for a handgun beneath the driver’s seat.”
Weirich said that an officer charged with using deadly force does not need to prove that he or she was justified in using such force, but instead the prosecution would have to prove that the deadly force was not justified.
All fatal shootings involving officers of the Memphis Police Department or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are investigated by the TBI.