Police Shooting Ruled Justified
The Yakima County Prosecutor's Office has rulled that an officer involved shooting in March in which Sunnyside Sgt. Jay Cunningham shot and killed Ramon Ayala to be judtified.
Cunningham shot Ayala in a residential neighborhood after the 27 year old had fired a gun in the air, reloaded, and then pointed his gun at the officer.
The official ruling from the prosecutor's office is below:
On 10/11/13, the Sunnyside Police Department received written notification of the findings on the Officer involved shooting of March 6, 2013.
In the letter Prosecutor Hagarty established that the actions taken by Sgt J. Cunningham were justified under RCW 9A.16.040(1)(b) and RCW 9A.16.040(c)(i).
The following sequence of events as derived from MR Hagarty’s findings;
The incident occurred when Officers responded to the area of Harrison and Tacoma Ave, following a 911 call where the caller stated there was a male subject firing a gun. Officer C. Rodriquez was the first Officer to arrive on the scene and observed the suspect Ramon Ayala shoot a hand gun into the air several times. Within moments of this occurring Sgt J Cunningham arrived on the scene and both Officer C Rodriquez and Sgt. Cunningham ordered Ayala to drop the weapon. Ayala then reloaded the hand gun and eyewitnesses observed Ayala turn toward Sgt Cunningham and begin to raise the gun. Sgt Cunningham fired his weapon striking Ayala. The incident occurred in a residential area where there was both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
It was later learned that Ayala had made the 911 call prior to walking to the intersection with the gun and firing it.
In cases involving this type of incident it is standard practice and protocol to call an outside agency to investigate. This case was investigated by Washington State Patrol and forwarded to the Yakima County Prosecutors Officer for determination.
Sgt Cunningham is a 23 year veteran of the Sunnyside Police Department and is currently assigned to the Patrol Division. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2003 and worked as a Patrol Sergeant from 2003 until 2005. Sgt Cunningham was then assigned as the Detective Sergeant 2005 until 2011 at which time he rotated back to Patrol Sergeant.
Sgt Cunningham is a founding member of the Sunnyside SWAT team and was the Team Commander from 2003 until 2011. Since 1997 Sgt Cunningham has been the Lead Firearm Instructor and has been the Police Departments Lead Use of Force Instructor since 1998.