Grand jury: APD officers' actions justified in 2011 robbery chase

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by JORDAN ARMSTRONG / KVUE.com, MELISSA MAHADEO / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @majordyrules

kvue.com

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 30 at 11:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Two Austin police officers investigated for firing their weapons during a 2011 convenience store robbery have been no-billed by a Travis County grand jury.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said Friday that Officers Eduardo Peña and Branden Kunkel were justified in firing their weapons at Logan Cook, who was suspected of robbing a Valero at gunpoint on South Congress Avenue the evening of Aug. 15, 2011.

Officers spotted Cook near the Bel-Air Motel, but he ran off when he saw them approach in patrol cars. Officer Peña then shot at Cook when he ran toward his patrol car holding a gun. Cook was not hit and ran away from the scene.

While chasing Cook through a greenbelt and several blocks for 40 minutes, Officer Kunkel fired his gun twice. The suspect was eventually found near the original robbery scene on Congress and was arrested by other APD officers.

"If you're sitting in a police car and you look to your right and you see a bad guy who's just robbed a place coming at you with a handgun you may fire in self defense as well,” Police Chief Art Acevedo told KVUE News following the incident in August 2011.

Since the incident APD has changed some of the wording in its policy on the use of deadly force, adding what's known as a "preservation of life" standard. But APD says officers in imminent danger have the right to defend themselves.

Cook was indicted on aggravated robbery charges and was not injured.

The Travis County grand jury investigated and decided to no-bill the officers, meaning they will not be indicted.

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