Deputies Unleash Hail of Gunfire Killing Unarmed Driver


Montana – A shocking dashcam video has been released showing two former Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputies unleash a hail of gunfire using an AR-15 and 12-gauge shotgun when killing the unarmed driver of an allegedly stolen vehicle.

Former deputy’s Jason Robinson and Christopher Rudolph were found justified by a coroner’s inquest jury this week for the vigilante-style killing of 28-year-old Loren Simpson. The inquest was called to see if the deputy’s had acted criminally. Even with the jury’s finding, a decision on whether any criminal charges will be brought is now up to the County Attorney Scott Twito.

The deputies, one with a shotgun the other an AR-15 assault rifle, fired for five seconds. Use-of-force expert and former FBI special Agent Brian Kensel said the deputies fired a total of 54 projectiles in that 5-second time span.

Loren Simpson

Loren Benjamin Simpson

On Jan. 8, 2015, both deputy’s were following Simpson who was driving a vehicle that had been reported stolen down a dead end road when their police cruiser got stuck in heavy snow. The deputy’s called for back up andwaited for Simpson to return.

Despite federal guidelines against officers firing into a moving vehicle, upon seeing the truck return the deputies exit their vehicle with weapons drawn, slowly walking towards the approaching vehicle. They shout at the vehicle as it approaches “stop”, “shut it down”, “now”. The vehicle begins to steer around them when they open fire.

The fatal shot came from the AR-15 after the vehicle went past the deputy’s, entering through the back window of the truck striking Simpson in the back of the head, killing him on the spot. Simpson was shot once with a slug from the shotgun and twice with the rifle according to Thomas Bennett, associate medical examiner, who testified Tuesday.

Robinson was training Rudolph who had been a deputy less than five months. Both men resigned from the sheriff’s office five days after the shooting and both testified this week that they feared for their lives as the truck approached and had no other choice.

A Guardian analysis of the dashcam video, which was played to the jury only once during the inquest, highlights how both officers appeared agitated and prepared to use their weapons well before making contact with Simpson.

As they pursue Simpson’s stolen vehicle, without their patrol car sirens activated, one officer asks the other, “Do you want your shotgun or your AR?” to which the other replies: “I’ll get my AR if I can.”

Thirteen minutes later, when the officers get stuck on a snowy dead-end road during the pursuit, one officer refers to Simpson as a “little fucker” and adds: “They go steal cars, they go break into shit, and throw that shit into those cars. Now they’re in the middle of fucking nowhere.” Five minutes later Simpson drives back down the road and encounters the deputies.

After the verdict, the Simpson family’s attorney Nathan Wagner said they respected the jury’s verdict, but believed the civil case pending against Yellowstone County in federal court still has merit.

“We are confident that the outcome will be different when we are allowed to present the rest of the evidence and cross-examine the witnesses at the civil trial,” Wagner said. “We look forward to the opportunity to continue pursuing justice for the family.”



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