Westlake officers found to be ‘legally justified’ in shooting of robbery suspect

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WESTLAKE, Ohio -- The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office said  Westlake Police Officers Stephen Krebs and Anthony Lavolpa were legally justified in their use of deadly force when they shot and killed 26-year-old Devan Desnoyers on October 10, 2016.

“The officers encountered someone who apparently had just committed an armed robbery, had fled the crime scene and recklessly put others in danger. When the police were finally able to stop his car, he refused to follow their commands and instead pulled what looked to be a real gun,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. “Faced with what appeared to be a life threatening situation, they reacted appropriately and as they had been trained. Only later did they learn that Mr. Desnoyers was carrying a replica firearm.”

The prosecutor's office also released the final report, including photos from the day of the robbery and shooting.

**You can see the photos above; CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT**

Authorities said Officers Krebs and Lavolpa, as well as other Westlake police officers, had responded to a 911 report of an armed robbery at the CVS Pharmacy on Detroit Road. They were aware that three other CVS stores in the area had been robbed in a similar manner by a suspect who demanded prescription painkillers from pharmacists, indicated that he had a gun and threatened to shoot if they did not comply.

As Desnoyers was trying to get away from police, his car was struck by a zone car. According to the prosecutor's office, all witnesses agreed that police repeatedly ordered the suspect to show his hands. The officers said he instead first reached for a bottle of oxycodone and then pulled a replica firearm from his waistband. At that time, authorities said Officers Krebs and Lavolpa fired a total of seven shots in 1.1 seconds, killing the suspect.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said, not until they pulled Desnoyers from his car and began first aid, did the police realize that the gun was a replica.

Desnoyers' mother, Christine Porter, refutes McGinty’s account of what happened. She tells FOX 8, in meetings with the prosecutor’s office, officials told her family a different account of what happened.

"My son could not speak for what happened inside of that vehicle. What I do know is that my son did not have a weapon. He did not have anything in his hand; he did not point anything; he didn't have a weapon," Porter said.

Porter also released the following statement to FOX 8 News:

"I am upset. I am utterly and painfully heartbroken because there are too many situations such as this where the officers are not held accountable. I had faith in our system but the law essentially allows for officers to make mistakes, even if it means a life is lost. There were no body cameras so it is their word against our son's and he is not here to answer. But, what I do know is that he did not have a weapon in his hands at the time, did not point anything and most certainly did not strike their vehicles as they initially reported and my son died and as a mother, my anguish is indescribable for my love for my son was great and he was far greater than what the world knows.

I am a nurse and I spend a lifetime of healing people and my husband, an NYPD Sergeant of 30 years, has spent a lifetime of taking care of people as well and our worst nightmare came to fruition with this event. We would have wanted our son to face his due process, the process our nation affords us with our constitutional rights. I would have preferred him to seek help for his alleged addiction but these two officers acted as judge, jury and executioner. This sort of action is terrifying as a mother, a police wife and nurse who genuinely loves everyone for it offers no protection for our weakest and most needy in society. A mistake should have not meant a death sentence and their mistakes robbed me of my son. I am painfully and irrevocably changed. We, as an entire family, are grieving for our son today."

The FOX 8 I-Team was first to report the officers would not be indicted after Porter confirmed the news.

Read more, here.