Dashcam of Traffic Stop Shootout

- video encodings still in process -



Hamilton, Montana: A coroner's inquest found Tuesday that Hamilton Police Officer Ross Jessop was justified in shooting Raymond Thane Davis to death after the Hamilton man opened fire during a late-night traffic stop in January.

It took a six-woman jury one hour to make its ruling following nearly five hours of testimony, which included a video that showed Davis pointing a pistol inches from Jessop's face and pulling the trigger.

The click of the revolver's hammer hitting a previously fired round was audible in the recording.

Davis fired a second time as the officer fell back and drew his own weapon.

Jessop fired his pistol 14 times into Davis' vehicle as it sped away. One round hit Davis, 36, in the back and he died at the scene.

Davis' .41 caliber revolver was recovered from the floorboard of his vehicle. Its hammer was cocked and ready to fire.

That night, Jessop first saw Davis talking to two Hamilton police officers.

The officers were questioning Davis about battery cables that had been cut on his girlfriend's car. The officers told Jessop that Davis was heavily intoxicated and had been warned not to drive.

Not long afterward, Jessop spotted Davis' Lincoln Navigator driving north of Second Street. He pulled in behind and followed the vehicle as it turned on Adirondack Street. When Davis used a turn lane to drive straight through the next intersection, Jessop turned on his lights.

Davis crossed the railroad tracks on Fairgrounds Road and pulled over on a patch of dirt almost directly across from the fairgrounds entrance.

Jessop activated his spotlight, then saw something he'd never before seen during a traffic stop: Davis reached out and slowly adjusted his mirror so he could see the officer.

"That's very unusual," Jessop testified. "Our spotlights are very bright and they hurt your eyes."

Most people immediately turn their mirrors so the light is reflected away from their face, he said.

"At that point, I was caught off guard," Jessop said. "I approached with a little more caution than I usually do."

Liveleak on Facebook

Advertisers